Aug 13, 2021

Fourteen States File Brief in Support of College of the Ozarks

Support for College of the Ozarks pours in as the 8th Circuit grants the College’s request to expedite the case  

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — Fourteen states, four organizations, and three universities filed briefs in support of College of the Ozarks in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  

Within the last two weeks, support for College of the Ozarks has poured in as the 8th Circuit granted the College’s request to expedite the case after a lower court’s dismissal. The Attorneys General of Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia submitted a brief supporting College of the Ozarks and asking for a reversal of the lower court’s decision.  

In their brief, the states “urge the Court to apply traditional standing requirements and reverse the district court’s error-laden decision, which applies a selectively narrow view of religious organizations’ standing to challenge federal rules that directly interfere with the free exercise of their faith.” 

Peer Missouri institutions, Hannibal-LaGrange University, Missouri Baptist University, Southwest Baptist University, as well as The Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention, filed a separate brief. The Institute for Faith and Family, America First Legal, and Mountain State Legal Foundation filed separate briefs this week as well.  

The lawsuit challenges a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening their dormitories, including dorm rooms and shared shower spaces, to members of the opposite sex. The directive requires entities covered by the Fair Housing Act to not “discriminate” based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The appeal concerns the College’s request for a preliminary injunction order that would halt enforcement of the HUD directive while the lawsuit moves forward. 

“Young women should not be forced to share private spaces—including showers and dorm rooms—with men, and a religious institution should not be forced to betray its religious beliefs,” said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. “The constitution protects our freedom by separating power and limiting government. When the government overreaches, College of the Ozarks will defend freedom, especially religious freedom. We are pleased to see so many other states and organizations join us in this battle.”