Ensure ALL LGBTQIA+ Students' Civil Rights Protections

Non-affirming taxpayer funded religious universities

Over 100,000 LGBTQIA+ students at more than 200 religiously affiliated, taxpayer-funded, universities throughout the U.S. are still denied basic civil rights protections against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. On January 12, the U.S. District Court in Oregon dismissed legal claims against the U.S. Department of Education despite acknowledging the harm and discrimination that students at these universities are continually facing.

To: Non-affirming taxpayer funded religious universities
From: [Your Name]

Despite progress being made toward LGBTQIA+ legal protections in the wider social sphere, LGBTQIA+ students at federally-funded religious universities are still being denied admission, disciplined harshly, subjected to emotional harm and expelled just for living openly as themselves. These students are often forgotten by those who are not in these spaces, but the harm being experienced by an increasingly diverse student population at private, religious colleges is immense and cannot be ignored.

These institutions are protected by Title IX exemptions on the basis of religion. Title IX was intended to protect students from discrimination, but by allowing universities to acquire religious exemptions to these anti-discrimination laws, tens of thousands of students are left vulnerable to abuse and harm from their institutions.

These universities, which openly discriminate against LGBTQIA+ students, receive taxpayer money. The American public is funding institutions that violate civil rights laws, making millions of people complicit in the marginalization of LGBTQIA+ students.

Students who wish to attend religious universities, regardless of why they make that choice, should not be exempted from protections that are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. Students who attend universities that are funded by taxpayer money should not be told that their pain, hardship, and experiences do not matter.

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) brought a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education for this unlawful discrimination, but the U.S. District court in Oregon dismissed our claims on January 12. Even though the Court acknowledged that the government is harming LGBTQIA+ students through these religious exemptions, the Court has ruled against LGBTQIA+ students. But this is not the end of the fight.

We demand an end to the use of Title IX religious exemptions by taxpayer-funded, faith-based colleges and universities to target LGBTQIA+ students and deprive them of civil rights protections. Join us today in advocating for the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ students on all taxpayer-funded campuses, and in standing against any and all laws that lead to unjust discrimination against students who only wish to live fully as their authentic selves.