Jon Green | America Blog | January 21, 2016
The Obama administration and the courts have recently expanded Title IX’s non-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender nonconformity. In response, a slew of religious colleges and universities have filed for religious exemptions under Title IX — exemptions that were originally included to allow religious institutions to discriminate against women — in order to save their federal funding while continuing to discriminate.
Earlier this week, the Human Rights Campaign came out with a report on this recent wave of Title IX exemptions. The report does a fantastic job of diagnosing the problem and pointing out the holes in accountability and oversight, but comes up painfully short in the policy recommendations it offers as a solution.
First, the good:
As the report notes, religious institutions of higher education began applying for Title IX exemptions in earnest following a settlement that the Arcadia Unified School District agreed to with a transgender student who had been prohibited from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with his gender identity. The settlement did not require the school district to admit fault, but it did require the district to “implement school-and district-wide measures to prevent gender-based discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity.” The district was also required to updated its non-discrimination policies and procedures to include gender identity and nonconformity.