Religious schools that receive federal money yet obtain federal exemptions to discriminate against LGBT students and employees will have their waivers posted online for public view, under a decision by the Department of Education. Announced in a letter to lawmakers, the decision comes one month after eight U.S. senators requested more transparency into the practice of granting school waivers from Title IX of the Education Act.
The 1972 law bans publicly funded schools from engaging in sex-based discrimination — which the Obama administration has applied to protect LGBT students — but Congress also provided an exemption for religious schools.
The assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department, Catherine Lhamon, told the senators on Wednesday that her office is planning to post the waiver requests and the government’s reply letters “on our website with a basic search tool so that applicants, students, parents, and others can be better informed about which educational institutions have sought and/or received a religious exemption.”
Led by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the lawmakers said in December, “We are concerned these waivers allow for discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.” They continued: “At a very minimum, we believe that parents, students, and taxpayers have a right to know when institutions of higher education — as recipients of tax dollars — seek and receive exemptions under Title IX as well as the justification of those exemptions.” Read more via Buzzfeed