The lawsuit argued that the rule forces religious schools to violate their religious beliefs and said the order was issued “without notice or the opportunity for public comment.” It further contended that the policy was issued without considering alternative policies that “respect the interests of private religious colleges.”
A federal judge rejected a Missouri Christian university’s plea for temporary protection against the Biden administration’s Fair Housing Act, which, the school said, requires religious schools to open womens’ dorm rooms and showers to male students.
District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on Wednesday denied the College of the Ozarks’ motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Act, Springfield News-Leader reported.
Ketchmark said an effort by the college to stop HUD from applying the new federal directive wouldn’t protect the college from any liability related to unfair housing allegations, the newspaper added.
James Luh, an attorney representing HUD, argued that the memorandum was “not directed at the college and does not specifically address the kinds of issues the college has raised here — showers, or roommates.”
Luh said there was no immediate threat to the college and that no legal complaint had been filed against it. “The plaintiffs can’t establish either irreparable harm or the likelihood of success necessary to sustain a preliminary injunction,” he was quoted as saying.
Serena Orloff, another attorney for HUD, argued, “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.”
Representing the college is the legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom. The group’s senior counsel Ryan Bangert told KOLR, “The Fair Housing Act has long prohibited discrimination on several grounds, including sex. But by redefining sex, the Biden administration is twisting the fair housing act to harm young women directly.”