POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. — The College of the Ozarks (C of O) is facing a setback after filing an injunction against the Biden administration’s Fair Housing Act.
At the public hearing on Wednesday, May 19, the college’s lawyers called the directive government overreach a violation of the school’s religious beliefs.
C of O will have to allow people of the opposite sex in dorms and shared shower spaces to avoid being fined once the Fair Housing Act becomes official.
Although not all Christians agree, lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom representing C of O argued biological sex should be the only definition of sex. Ryan Bangert, with the senior counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, said Biden’s act could cause harm.
“Policy pushed forward by president Biden, forces the College of the Ozarks to open its dormitories, to members of the opposite sex,” said Bangert. “The Fair Housing Act has long prohibited discrimination on several grounds, including sex. But by redefining sex, the Biden administration is twisting the fair housing act to harm young women directly.”
Julie Blake is also with the Alliance Defending Freedom and said the government is using a different definition of sex.
“The government cannot and should not force schools to open girls dorms to males,” said Blake. “Based on its politically motivated and inappropriate redefinition of sex.”
Emily Bowen-Marler, a reverend at Brentwood Christian Church, said it would have been discrimination against transgender people if C of O had won the lawsuit.
“I just feel like they’re creating this scary thing that is not actually based in fact, it’s just based in fear, and churches and religious institutions need to stop trying to play this religious freedom card in order to discriminate and devalue other human beings,” said Bowen-Marler.
Ben Stringer, a local pastor, said transgender people like his child face discrimination every day.
“You create energy with the words you use,” said Stringer. “It’s important, and as the father of a child who is transgender, I can tell you that even when young people don’t agree with the leadership at a university like College of the Ozarks, and know that there are people who feel so strongly against their presence, or even working to try to make them feel comfortable or at home, it’s significant to them.”
Bowen- Marler said the college’s current beliefs would be hard to enforce.
“I just want to know how it is they’re going to determine that,” said Bowen-Marler. “Are they going to force people to take off their pants so that they can see what their biological sex is like? That’s sexual assault.”
C of O’s lawyers say biological sex should be the only definition of sex.
“The administration is attempting to redefine the word sex in federal law to mean sexual orientation and gender identity, rather than biological sex as that word has always been understood,” said Bangert.
The changes to the Fair Housing Act are still under federal review for several months and are not yet official.
“People who are transgender just want to not be harassed or assaulted when they go to the bathroom,” said Bowen Marler. “They just want to be able to pee in peace.”
C of O’s defense council said they will consider an appeal.
Watch the full interviews of the individuals involved in this story below: