Department of Education dismisses Title IX complaint against BYU
The U.S. Department of Education dismissed a Title IX complaint against Brigham Young University on Tuesday.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights dismissed a complaint filed against BYU on March 9, 2020, regarding alleged discrimination against students involved in same-sex romantic relationships by stating that they are not compatible with the principles of BYU’s honor code.
Title IX protects individuals against discrimination based on sex while participating in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
According to a letter sent to BYU from the Office for Civil Rights, the complaint against BYU was dismissed citing the university’s religious exemption and stating that the office lacked the jurisdiction to deal with the complaint’s allegations.
According to a press release distributed by BYU, the university had anticipated that the complaint would be dismissed as the Office for Civil Rights has honored BYU’s religious exemption to Title IX requirements in the past, namely that the university does not need to uphold requirements that they claim are inconsistent with values taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to the press release, BYU did not become aware that a complaint had been filed until they were notified by the federal government on Oct. 21, 2021. Kevin J. Worthen, president of BYU, wrote a letter to the Office for Civil Rights dated Nov. 19, 2021, asserting the university’s religious exemption.
“BYU affirms that the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law includes the freedom to operate a religious university without sacrificing distinctive religious beliefs or practices.” Worthen wrote. “At the same time, BYU welcomes and supports all our students and employees who agree to abide by the tenets of the Church of Jesus Christ, including those who identify as LGBTQ. We acknowledge the complicated realities that many of these individuals experience as they navigate issues surrounding sexual orientation, gender identity, and religious doctrine.”