US religious schools moving against LGBT students with Title IX
Even as the world has begun to accept LGBT rights as inherent, a number of religious Christian schools in the US are pushing the federal government to waive laws that protect LGBT students– ironically using the same Title IX federal law.
According to a report by The Column, “The schools are asking the US Department of Education to waive portions of Title IX that might apply to students and staff who are transgender or who are in same-sex relationships.”
“Twenty-seven schools have been granted a waiver from Title IX by the department in the last year, many with the help of conservative religious organizations. Another nine have applications pending,” the report said.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Part of the Education Amendments of 1972, this law supposedly protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.
Title IX states that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
However, the report pointed out that Congress added the provision where an educational institution that is “controlled by a religious organization” does not have to comply if Title IX “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”
Religious schools using Title IX
Prior to 2014, the “right-to-discriminate” was rarely used as a handful were only requested in the 1980s and the 1990s.
However, when the Obama administration issued guidance on the use of the discrimination prohibition of Title IX to protect transgender and gender nonconforming people, conservative Christian leaders began to position schools to expel transgender students.
Currently, the Department of Education has granted a waiver to 27 religious colleges and universities in 17 states in the last 18 months. Another nine are pending as of August 2015, for a total of 36 schools that applied for the waiver. Most of these religious Christian schools are in the South or West.
According to documents obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Column last July, “these schools have asked the federal government for these waivers not only to deny enrollment to or expel transgender students, but the broad-based waiver requests have also targeted gay, lesbian, and bisexual students and staff.”
“In some cases schools have even asked for, and been granted, a waiver to allow them to expel women who have been pregnant outside of marriage,” The Column report on Title IX said.