A ruling from a federal judge in Missouri Wednesday threatens to endanger the rights of Americans by opening the door for individuals of the opposite biological sex to force access to single-gender dormitories and bathroom facilities at a Christian institution of higher education, as the Daily Caller reports.
The decision from U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark came in a case filed by the College of the Ozarks, a Christian college that had challenged an announcement from the Biden administration earlier this year that it would “administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” a move the school argued would require private, religiously-affiliated schools to put biological males in women’s dorms.
According to the Springfield News-Leader, Judge Ketchmark denied the college a temporary restraining order as well as a preliminary injunction in the matter, reinforcing the notion that that any attempts by the school to thwart implementation of the Housing and Urban Development directive could indeed lead to liability and enforcement actions.
Julie Blake, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – an advocacy organization that filed suit on the college’s behalf – said with regard to the administration mandate, “There is no doubt that this is creating serious consequences,” adding that the directive amounted to an enforceable “rule change” and that “the college need not wait for an actual prosecution or enforcement action before challenging a law’s constitutionality.”
Blake further argued that if the school failed to comply with the rule and refused to house biological males with female students, it would be subjected to “serious fines and penalties and potential liability,” as the News-Leader further noted.
An attorney representing the federal government countered by stating that the memorandum at issue was “not directed at the college and does not specifically address the kinds of issues the college has raised here – showers, or roommates,” and that there has been no complaint against the school pending with HUD nor an immediate danger of one.
As such, the lawyer claimed, “The plaintiffs can’t establish either irreparable harm or the likelihood of success necessary to sustain a preliminary injunction.” Another attorney arguing on behalf of the government added, “We recognize the college may have strongly held beliefs. Nothing that the government has done…should be taken to suggest a lack of respect for the college’s religious beliefs but at this juncture, this is a purely one-sided dispute.”
Judge Ketchmark apparently agreed, leading Blake to declare after the decision, “The Biden administration’s overreach continues to victimize women, girls and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped,” as the Daily Caller noted.
Though Wednesday’s outcome represents a setback for the Christian college, administrators suggested an appeal is in the offing, with chief communications officer Valerie Coleman saying, “While we are disappointed in today’s ruling, we expect to appeal so that schools are not forced to open girls’ dorms to male and violate their religious beliefs. We will continue to fight.”