The following comes from a September 29 Cardinal Newman Society press release:
Leading up to a possible landmark Supreme Court case regarding “transgender” policies and religious freedom, The Cardinal Newman Society and several courageous Catholic colleges this week filed a friend of the court brief urging the Court to hear the appeal of the Gloucester County, Va., school board in defense of men’s and women’s restrooms.
The amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday was authored by expert attorneys of the First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm in Plano, Texas, dedicated to preserving religious freedom. The brief is joined by The Cardinal Newman Society and several faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide, including John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, Calif.; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.; The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H.; Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.; and the Ignatius Angelicum Liberal Studies Program.
Although the case revolves around the secular Gloucester County Public Schools in southeastern Virginia, it touches upon serious administrative and constitutional issues that are of deep concern to religious educators. “Reading ‘sex’ to include gender identity raises significant constitutional concerns when applied to religious persons, religious organizations or religious colleges that receive Title IX funds,” the brief argues.
The Gloucester County School Board was sued in June 2015 by a biologically female student who was denied use of a school’s male restroom facilities. A federal district court upheld the school board’s policy on privacy concerns. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled against the school board in April, citing a private letter from a Department of Education official to an attorney inquiring about the Gloucester school board policy. The letter confirmed the Obama administration’s reinterpretation of “sex” in Title IX to protect “gender identity.”
The Supreme Court put a temporary hold on the 4th Circuit’s decision until the justices could decide to hear the case. The school board petitioned the Court in August to take the case and resolve “once and for all the current nationwide controversy generated by” government directives to treat students based on gender identity rather than biological sex. The petition seeks a reversal of the 4th Circuit ruling.
Although Title IX was intended to protect women from discrimination, especially with regard to ensuring athletic opportunities for women at U.S. colleges, the Obama administration is now using the law to demand gender identity confusion and dismantle education policies that are naturally determined by a person’s biological sex. The reinterpretation affects privacy in locker rooms, bathrooms and student residences, and it undermines the progress under Title IX by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports.
Congress has never amended Title IX to include gender identity protection, but that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from issuing threats to schools that refuse to comply with its interpretation of the law.