A small Christian-based college in Missouri is filing suit against the Biden administration over a mandate issued in February by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) directing that institutions receiving federal funding allow biological males to use female accommodations, including dormitories and locker rooms.
In an interview with Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News @ Night,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Ryan Bangert, who is representing the College of the Ozarks, first responded to a report in Forbes noting that the order ostensibly protects “LGBTQ people” from “discrimination in federally funded housing.”
The report went on to note that colleges receiving federal funds via student loans, contracts, and grants are thus subject to “fair housing laws.”
In explaining the lawsuit, Bangert suggested that biological females affected by the rule have rights, too.
(Video: Fox News)
“We brought this lawsuit because the federal government shouldn’t be able to force young women to share their dorm rooms with males. It’s just that simple,” he explained, noting that the college is a “small Christian school in southwest Missouri that has always integrated its faith” into its curriculum and behavioral standards.
The rule was issued in response to an executive order signed earlier by President Joe Biden extending additional special protections for LGBTQ individuals.
Bangert went on to say that the Forbes piece was not entirely accurate.
“Even if the College of the Ozarks gave up every last penny of federal money that it receives, it would still be subject to this Fair Housing Act requirement that was imposed really in the dead of night by an administrative agency without any notice or comment to the public” or input by affected parties, the attorney continued.
Bream responded by asking Bangert if he believes that the Biden administration is serious about enforcing the rule or if the college is “scaremongering” over the issue.
“I don’t think it’s hype or scaremongering at all. In fact, the letter that was issued by [HUD]…said specifically that enforcement actions could be taken based on complaints filed,” he said, adding that if federal bureaucrats determined there have been violations, they would recommend that “charges should be brought.”
Bream went on to cite a portion of a memo by HUD explaining the rule.
“At the core of this Department’s housing mission is an endeavor to ensure that all people peacefully enjoy a place they call home, where they are safe and can thrive, free from discrimination and fear,” the memo, dated Feb. 11, stated.
Bream added that it “sounds like a laudable goal” to most Americans before asking Bangert how it could be balanced with the school’s Christian mission.
“It’s absolutely possible,” he said. “I think that really points out the flaw in the way that the administration went about imposing this rule.”
The ADF attorney went on to say that the rule should have been first subject to public notice and comment periods, as required by federal law.
“If the Housing and Urban Development team that put this out would have undertaken those processes,” said Bangert, “they could have tailored this rule in a much better way that would have respected the religious liberty interests of our client, as well as ensure that everyone has a roof over their head.”
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