Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford

Title IX Lawsuit Seeks to Reduce Religious Exemptions

Nevada Attorney General Signs Amicus Brief with 18 Other Blue States

Nevada’s Attorney General Aaron Ford has joined 18 other blue states in submitting an amicus brief with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Hunter v U.S. Department of Education class-action lawsuit. The case concerns a law that prevents sex discrimination in federally funded schools. The brief argues that the government’s interpretation of a Title IX exemption is invalid.

The definition of religious exemptions was broadened during President Trump’s administration, giving schools wider religious exemption rights. During the Trump administration, his Department of Education gutted protections for women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other classes of students that had been in place for four decades,” Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum said. “Title IX needs to be strengthened, not systematically weakened. Students ought to know before they get to campuses whether their academic institutions will protect their rights or undermine them.”

When Congress enacted Title IX, it included a narrow exemption for schools controlled by religious institutions that have tenets incompatible with Title IX,” a press release from Rosenblum’s office said. “However, during the Trump administration, the Department of Education used administrative rulemaking to vastly expand this narrow religious exemption.”

State Attorney Generals who signed the brief initiated by Oregon’s Attorney General are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

“A recipient institution that receives Department funds must operate its education program or activity in a nondiscriminatory manner free of discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; treatment of LGBTQI+ students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX. For a recipient to retaliate in any way is considered a violation of Title IX. The Department’s Title IX regulations (Volume 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106) provide additional information about the forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”  U.S. Department of Education

(by Staff)