A judge has ruled that Fuller Theological Seminary can expel students who have engaged in extramarital activity or have entered a same-sex marriage, and still receive federal funding.
Two former students expelled for being in same-sex marriages filed suit against the California-based evangelical school, claiming that the standards violated Title IX Civil Rights law.
United States District Judge Consuelo Marshall granted Fuller’s motion to dismiss the suit on Wednesday, ruling that the seminary met the standards for a religious exemption to Title IX.
“Here, although the text of the Religious Organization Exemption may be read to require the ‘religious organization’ and ‘educational institution’ to be two separate entities, the ordinary meaning of the term ‘organization’ is sufficiently broad to include [Fuller’s] board of directors,” wrote Marshall.
“… the Title IX claim seeks to hold FTS liable for expelling Plaintiffs for entering same-sex marriages, which are contrary to the school’s religious tenets. Thus, the Religious Organization Exemption applies.”
Daniel Blomberg, senior attorney at the Becket Fund, a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases and which represented Fuller, celebrated the district court ruling in a statement released Thursday.
“This is a huge win for seminaries, yeshivas, madrasas, and every other religious institution of higher education,” stated Blomberg.
“That’s because houses of worship, and not government officials, should be deciding how to teach the next generation of religious leaders.”
“Defendants discriminated against Mrs. Maxon based on her sexual orientation because it expelled Mrs. Maxon for entering into a civil same-sex marriage,” read the suit, a copy of which was emailed to The Christian Post at the time.
“Defendants also discriminated against Mrs. Maxon based on her sex and sexual orientation by subjecting her to stricter disciplinary action than Fuller would have subjected a male, heterosexual student….”
The above comes from an Oct. 9 story on the Christian Post.