Nearly three dozen religious institutions of higher learning have asked the federal government to waive laws that protect LGBT students, according to government documents. The schools are asking the Department of Education to waive portions of Title IX that might apply to students and staff who are transgender or who are in same-sex relationships.
27 schools have been granted a waiver from Title IX by the department in the last year, many with the help of conservative religious organizations. Another 9 have applications pending. The total enrollment of these schools tops 80,000 students, and nearly $130 million in federal research grants and student aid flowed to these institutions of higher learning in 2014.
When Title IX was passed in 1972 to combat discrimination based on sex, Congress added a small but powerful provision that states that an educational institution that is “controlled by a religious organization” does not have to comply if Title IX “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.” These “right-to-discriminate” waivers were relatively rare until the last year. A handful were requested in the 1980s and 1990s, many by religious schools who wanted to ensure they could prevent women from being hired in leadership roles without running afoul of discrimination laws. Read more via the Column