A group of Christian college students is suing the U.S. Department of Education on the grounds that the religious exemption to Title IX is unconstitutional as it permits discrimination against LGBT individuals.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday in an Oregon federal court by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), which is an activist organization that "empowers queer, trans and nonbinary students at more than 200 taxpayer-funded religious colleges and universities that actively discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression."
The plaintiffs, which include 33 current and former students from 25 Christian colleges that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education, are arguing that the religious exemption that these schools receive for Title IX discrimination law is unconstitutional because it permits discrimination against the LGBT community.
"REAP's lawsuit asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America," the organization's website says.
The lawsuit argues that religious exemptions leave "students unprotected from the harms of conversion therapy, expulsion, denial of housing and healthcare, sexual and physical abuse and harassment, as well as the less visible, but no less damaging, consequences of institutionalized shame, fear, anxiety and loneliness."