Jump to content

Federal lawsuit against religious schools, including byu


Recommended Posts

Here:

Quote

As a new federal lawsuit accuses 25 religious colleges of discriminating against LGBTQ students, more plaintiffs have signed on to speak against one of those schools than any other: Brigham Young University.

“I joined this lawsuit because I didn’t want anyone else to feel how I felt there in Provo,” said Ashtin Markowski, a recent BYU graduate who is lesbian. “I was on edge, anxious all the time and afraid every day that I was going to be kicked out for being myself.”

Markowski is one of three former students from BYU’s campuses in Utah and Idaho who are part of the case, which targets practices such as disciplining and sometimes expelling those who are openly queer.

Not particularly impressed with the article, which begins by equivocating on kep concepts.  "Openly queer" in this context does not necessarily mean having an innate sexual attraction on one's own gender, but I think the article pretty clearly intends to give that impression.

Quote

It argues that religious schools — even if they are private, like BYU, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — should not be allowed to have anti-LGBTQ policies if they accept federal funding for research grants, student loans and other programs.

BYU, for instance, gets about $1 billion each year from the federal government, said Paul Southwick, the lead attorney on the Oregon lawsuit and director of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, which is backing it.

The proposed class action is not filed against the individual colleges. It instead names the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that because the department allocates federal money to schools, it should be responsible for enforcing Title IX on all campuses. That law prohibits schools from discriminating based on sex.

But there’s a religious exemption that allows those owned by faith organizations to ignore some parts of it. Southwick believes that exemption violates the U.S. Constitution and leaves gay, queer and transgender students vulnerable to “abuses and unsafe conditions” — even while their schools collect federal cash for admitting them.

I'm curious as to how Title IX works vis-à-vis private religious schools imposing constraints on sexual behaviors (the "religious exemption" referenced here).

And again, not impressed the author of the article.  An exemption from the law means the law does not apply to a party.  Characterizing this as "ignore some parts of it" is slanted risible.

Quote

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the school is “in the process of reviewing this lawsuit.” She also said BYU aims to treat all students “with respect, dignity and love. We are concerned when any of our students do not feel this way and greatly value the contributions our students make to BYU.”

Since the case was filed, though, Southwick said even more students from BYU have called him, interested in signing on. “They all have their own story,” he added, “and their own reasons.” Seventeen psychology groups also support the lawsuit and there are currently 33 plaintiffs, representing schools from Baylor University to Liberty University to Colorado Christian University.

Here are the stories of the three who attended BYU.

What follows are three stories laden with emotions and feelings.  Genuine ones, but emotions and feelings nonetheless. 

The challenge, though, is that these narratives, running heavily into the I'm-a-victim territory, are sort of hard to square with BYU being pretty much an open book when it comes to the Law of Chastity and the Honor Code.

I will be interested to see how this case turns out.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

Another challenge is that the stores are . . . pretty vague.  

  • Upvote 1
Link to post

"BYU has a history of forcing its students into conversion therapy."

 

Was it forced or even compelled; I dont know enough about it?

 

It is line 130 on page 18 of the filing.

Link to post

How much of a case are Plaintiffs likely to have if it can be argued (reasonably and persuasively, in my view) that, since the Law of Chastity is an integral part of the Honor Code of Brigham Young University (and of other educational institutions sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), that Plaintiffs knew exactly what they were getting into?

Over and over again, it seems to me,  the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and, by extension the schools it sponsors) teaches, "You are not your behavior," and "You are more than your desires, appetites, and passions," and "The natural man is an enemy to God" and will always be such an enemy, unless he "yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and put[s] off the natural man, and become[s] a Saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord" (Mosiah 3:19 in the Book of Mormon).

It's going to be really hard for Plaintiffs to argue that there is any kind of a "bait and switch" going on here, that Plaintiffs who are or who have been students at BYU or at another school sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were not aware of what they were signing up for when they enrolled.  Also, for some time (for probably at least as long as Plaintiffs who are BYU students have been alive) the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and, by extension, BYU and other Church-sponsored schools) has maintained the "behavior/orientation" distinction.

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but this suit seems to have (although I have not read it, but would very much like to) a real "Shut Up, Bigots," flavor to it.  I think what's really stuck in Plaintiffs' craw is not that universities sponsored by religious institutions seek to regulate behavior, but, rather, that, still, there are institutions of higher learning (even in our enlightened time) that dare to maintain that certain behaviors are moral and certain behaviors are not.

Good luck to Plaintiffs arguing that they didn't know what they were getting into.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
26 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

How much of a case are Plaintiffs likely to have if it can be argued (reasonably and persuasively, in my view) that, since the Law of Chastity is an integral part of the Honor Code of Brigham Young University (and of other educational institutions sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), that Plaintiffs knew exactly what they were getting into?

The law of chastity thing begs the question though:

are heterosexual students allowed to hug, kiss, hold hands in and engage in limited PDA on byu campus or according to the honor code? If so, is that a violation of the law of chastity and the honor code.? If not why can’t gay kids engage in it? 
 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Here:

Not particularly impressed with the article, which begins by equivocating on kep concepts.  "Openly queer" in this context does not necessarily mean having an innate sexual attraction on one's own gender, but I think the article pretty clearly intends to give that impression.

I'm curious as to how Title IX works vis-à-vis private religious schools imposing constraints on sexual behaviors (the "religious exemption" referenced here).

And again, not impressed the author of the article.  An exemption from the law means the law does not apply to a party.  Characterizing this as "ignore some parts of it" is slanted risible.

What follows are three stories laden with emotions and feelings.  Genuine ones, but emotions and feelings nonetheless. 

The challenge, though, is that these narratives, running heavily into the I'm-a-victim territory, are sort of hard to square with BYU being pretty much an open book when it comes to the Law of Chastity and the Honor Code..........................

I think it important that such issues be thrashed out in court.  We do need to see what the Constitutional limitations actually are in specific cases.

I'd be interested to know how Orthodox Jewish institutions (if any receive Federal funds) deal with this, since Orthodox Judaism fully rejects homosexuality, as well as female rabbis, etc.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
1 minute ago, kllindley said:

But, @smac97, we've been assured multiple times that this would never happen. Any fear we expressed about this possibility was unfounded and unhinged. 

Anyone can sue for any reason.  That does not mean that the suits have merit.  Fear and trepidation are uncalled for.

Link to post
Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, secondclasscitizen said:

The law of chastity thing begs the question though:

are heterosexual students allowed to hug, kiss, hold hands in and engage in limited PDA on byu campus or according to the honor code? If so, is that a violation of the law of chastity and the honor code.? If not why can’t gay kids engage in it? 
 

 

 

 

I'm not sure it's a winning argument, but, definitely, if I were Plaintiffs, I would use it, yes.  (But again, Plaintiffs knew what would be allowed and what wouldn't, at BYU and at other schools sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when they enrolled there.)

Edited by Kenngo1969
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Posted (edited)

BYU getting $1 billion per annum in federal funds would work out to over $33K per student per year, when the students themselves pay barely a fifth of that amount in tuition.  So I suspect that someone’s numbers are off; and if BYU is really that staggeringly dependent on the feds—LGBTQ issues or not, it’s time to get BYU off the government teat.

As for this:

—The law of chastity thing begs the question though:

are heterosexual students allowed to hug, kiss, hold hands in and engage in limited PDA on byu campus or according to the honor code? If so, is that a violation of the law of chastity and the honor code.? If not why can’t gay kids engage in it? —
 

Well, for that matter, why can’t married students engage in those types of behaviors with people other then their spouses?

When I was at BYU, there was a certain caliber of student who would try to insist that “oral sex isn’t sex”.  The above is really just a twenty-first-century variant of that—it’s the same libertine mentality that focuses less on changing one’s behavior to match the spirit of the law and more on how to twist the letter of the law and out-lawyer the Lord in order to justify the indulgence of one’s baser instincts.

Edited by mgy401
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, provoman said:

BYU has a history of forcing its students into conversion therapy."

 

Was it forced or even compelled; I dont know enough about it?

 

It is line 130 on page 18 of the filing.

It is possible in my view that there were branch presidents that told students they wouldn’t sign their endorsement to attend school if they didn’t try it and possibly parents that coerced their children in some fashion, but the study was supposed to be volunteer and would have been structured to follow the ethical standards of that time.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Aversion_therapy_performed_at_BYU

Quote

Aversion therapy was completely voluntary at BYU. Participants could enter and leave as they wish. In an interview with FAIR, Dr. Thorne explained that the voluntary nature was essential to get scientific results. He said any type of pressure for the participants to give certain answers would jade the results of the study. For this reason, they would not have accepted referrals from the Honor Code office even if they had been given. There was also a strict separation between what they did and what the honor code office knew about so as to remove any possibility of "pretending" to have certain results to please the honor code office. As reported in the thesis, participants could drop out at any time for whatever reason, as evidenced by the fact that some did.

 

When I was a psych student at BYU late 70s, early 80s, I had private talks with one of my professors that amounted to therapy.  Very helpful in some ways, not so in others.  Chances are other professors were mentoring students in the same way, this would have had less oversight than the official counselors.  There was also aversion therapy advertised on campus for weight control at least.  I can see it possible that unofficial counseling or even students trying out stuff they heard being used by others on their own later being perceived as “BYU” pressuring students.

Edited by Calm
Link to post
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mgy401 said:

BYU getting $1 billion per annum in federal funds would work out to over $33K per student per year,

I know of professors who have gotten grant money for research.  $1 billion a year seems likely rather high though even including those.  Would like to see the analysis.

https://news.byu.edu/news/byu-awarded-three-major-federal-grants-asian-european-and-middle-eastern-studies

https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1757998&HistoricalAwards=false

Pell grants...

Quote

That plays out with grants. According to numbers from the 2018-2019 academic year, 6,930 University of Utah students received Pell grants. At BYU, 12,126 students — about double — received the grants, which would match the extra federal funding for the virus (though not all recipients are married).

https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2020/04/16/funny-reason-why-byu-is/

Edited by Calm
  • Like 1
Link to post
3 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Good luck to Plaintiffs arguing that they didn't know what they were getting into.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I have only read what Smac posted, but from there it sounds more like they (Southwick as spokesperson) are not protesting they didn’t know what was expected of them, but that what was expected is unconstitutional.  Have I missed something by not reading more (if I have I will research)?

Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Calm said:

I have only read what Smac posted, but from there it sounds more like they (Southwick as spokesperson) are not protesting they didn’t know what was expected of them, but that what was expected is unconstitutional.  Have I missed something by not reading more (if I have I will research)?

This comes with the usual huge (tiresome, frankly ;)) caveat: I am not a lawyer.  If BYU's (and CES's) policies regarding same-sex behavior and relationships are unconstitutional now, they were unconstitutional when the students agreed to attend a school sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

If the students did not wish to abide by those policies and/or if they thought them unconstitutional, why raise that argument now, instead of saying (before the fact) "Hey, I'd like to go to BYU or a CES school, but they have these discriminatory policies" before enrolling?  In my opinion, any trial or appellate court is going to want a satisfactory answer to that question before ruling for Plaintiffs.  I think BYU/CES has a strong contractual argument, and that the Church of Jesus Christ/BYU/CES has a strong case for dismissal under the Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine.

Edited by Kenngo1969
Link to post
Posted (edited)

A few thoughts after the lawsuit (http://593f573b-1436-46c6-85bf-bd1475656bfe.filesusr.com/ugd/b017d0_acbf337205884ac0b271a899cbeaf896.pdf )

Quote

502. The law does not recognize an identity/conduct distinction.

I may be misinterpreting what they are claiming here, but isn't the whole point that the law is used to convict people based on actions not thoughts?

 

Quote

518. The religious exemptions to Title IX sought for the purpose of discriminating against LGBTQ+ students primarily or exclusively benefit Christian educational institutions.

Is this actually relevant? Just because Christian-based institutions predominately make use of this rule, doesn't mean that others can't, and seems irrelevant to what they want to happen anyway.

 

Assuming the plaintiffs win the case and the religious exemptions go away, what do people see as options here?

  1. Schools no longer take pell funds (as has been raised above, would research grants even be relevant?) and run internal loans/grants instead.
  2. Schools no longer accept students that need loans/grants
  3. Schools change their policies - seems unlikely for some

From reading the suit though, many of the complaints contained instances of harassment from other students.

Even if policies change, and they can have an open relationship with their partner, if a lot of the harassment is student based, they are still likely to be harassed.

Edited by JustAnAustralian
Link to post
5 hours ago, mgy401 said:

BYU getting $1 billion per annum in federal funds would work out to over $33K per student per year, when the students themselves pay barely a fifth of that amount in tuition.  So I suspect that someone’s numbers are off; and if BYU is really that staggeringly dependent on the feds—LGBTQ issues or not, it’s time to get BYU off the government teat.

As for this:

—The law of chastity thing begs the question though:

are heterosexual students allowed to hug, kiss, hold hands in and engage in limited PDA on byu campus or according to the honor code? If so, is that a violation of the law of chastity and the honor code.? If not why can’t gay kids engage in it? —
 

Well, for that matter, why can’t married students engage in those types of behaviors with people other then their spouses?

In Utah- adultery is not against the law. That said, I'm sure holding hands and kissing a person other than your own spouse would not jeopardize your federal education benefits except at BYU.  The point i was making is about unmarried persons whether they be Gay or not. The straight can engage in that behavior and the gay ones cannot at BYU. If what the straight kids are doing is not a violation of the law of chastity then how can it be for a same sex couple doing the same thing? They are not touching each others naughty places. Anyway yea that will be an argument and I can see their point.

Religious schools adding restrictions to the Federal requirements which makes the requirements more stringent for a federally protected class of person than they are for a straight white person. That could be deemed discriminatory and the fed govt can withdraw funding. At that point the church can spend some of its $130BIL on education instead of an overpriced mall and propping up a failing insurance company. I suppose the courts will get it all figured out and then we all will know who is allowed to have a boyfriend/girlfriend while a BYU student and who is not allowed to.

Funny thing is that our bishops will be performing gay civil marriages very soon unless the church gets out of the marriage business altogether. I'm not for it but I can hear the train coming. Once that happens then well the youth church dances will be a sight. Our local high school has gay mormon kids all over the place so it is just a matter of time. The kids who are <25 ish yrs old dont generally have the same disgust towards gay people that is common in our congregations. They all have gay friends.

 

Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, secondclasscitizen said:

The point i was making is about unmarried persons whether they be Gay or not.   The straight can engage in that behavior and the gay ones cannot at BYU. If what the straight kids are doing is not a violation of the law of chastity then how can it be for a same sex couple doing the same thing? They are not touching each others naughty places. Anyway yea that will be an argument and I can see their point.

The courts, of course, will do whatever the courts will do; and—gratuitous slap at the Church’s actions to prevent urban blight around Temple Square and to help a wholly-owned subsidiary avoid layoffs and honor its contractual obligations to widows and orphans—I do agree with you that the better policy going forward will probably be for BYU to eschew federal funding, pare back the Honor Code office, jack up tuition to $40-$50K/year in line with other private universities, and let the Church offer direct scholarships to temple-recommend-holding students via the PEF that would keep out-of-pocket cost-to-students roughly in line with what they are now.  

That said: it seemed to me that the point you were making is that the LDS concept of “chastity” boils down to technical compliance with a checklist of particular verboten actions, without any regard to the underlying attitude and frame of mind that gives rise to the actions.  A straight unmarried couple that holds hands is moving towards towards something that—within certain constraints—can lead to exaltation and eternal increase.  A straight hand-holding couple where one or both is already married to another person, or a gay hand-holding couple, is building towards something that current LDS doctrine holds to be a theological dead end at best, and affirmatively destructive at worst.

And sure, many youth in the Church—like their peers outside of the covenant—are buying into the notion that life is all about the sex.  They’ll figure things out eventually; the only question is how many messes they’ll make for themselves, how many doors they’ll have permanently shut, and how many opportunities for growth will have passed them by before they come to that understanding.  The Church, being what it is and being led by the kind of people who lead it, cares very much about helping to prevent these kinds of scenarios.  But I confess I’m not that virtuous; I’m mostly content to let these little hedonists reap the harvest they’ve sown, so long as they don’t come looking to me or the Church for a financial or emotional bailout when the natural consequences of their behavior come home to roost.

Edited by mgy401
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
4 hours ago, JustAnAustralian said:

A few thoughts after the lawsuit (http://593f573b-1436-46c6-85bf-bd1475656bfe.filesusr.com/ugd/b017d0_acbf337205884ac0b271a899cbeaf896.pdf )

I may be misinterpreting what they are claiming here, but isn't the whole point that the law is used to convict people based on actions not thoughts?

 

Is this actually relevant? Just because Christian-based institutions predominately make use of this rule, doesn't mean that others can't, and seems irrelevant to what they want to happen anyway.

 

Assuming the plaintiffs win the case and the religious exemptions go away, what do people see as options here?

  1. Schools no longer take pell funds (as has been raised above, would research grants even be relevant?) and run internal loans/grants instead.
  2. Schools no longer accept students that need loans/grants
  3. Schools change their policies - seems unlikely for some

From reading the suit though, many of the complaints contained instances of harassment from other students.

Even if policies change, and they can have an open relationship with their partner, if a lot of the harassment is student based, they are still likely to be harassed.

Option 4

Dont allow straight couples to hold hands, kiss, or date at BYU. If anyone marries they can no longer attend BYU.  
 

After all, if gay students are expected to live by those rules it doesn’t seem to be any big deal to also have straight students follow the same rules.  

Everyone applying to BYU knows what is expected of them.  It is their choice to attend or not.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, california boy said:

Dont allow straight couples to hold hands, kiss, or date at BYU. If anyone marries they can no longer attend BYU.  

This isn't just about BYU. BYU could change their rules right now and the lawsuit wouldn't change at all.

In fact, BYU could not exist at all and this lawsuit would still happen, because it's targeted at the Department of Education, not individual schools.

But feel free to keep up the hyperbole about what the outcomes related to the lawsuit might be.

Edited by JustAnAustralian
  • Like 1
Link to post
14 hours ago, kllindley said:

But, @smac97, we've been assured multiple times that this would never happen. Any fear we expressed about this possibility was unfounded and unhinged. 

By whom?

Are you generalizing statements or did someone say this?

Link to post
3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

By whom?

Are you generalizing statements or did someone say this?

🙄

  • Upvote 1
Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...