The Cardinal Newman Society joined an amicus brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case Maxon v Fuller Theological Seminary, urging the court to protect the seminary’s right to set religious and moral standards for its students and members, regardless of the Biden administration’s interpretation of Title IX as applying to homosexuality and gender identity.
The plaintiffs, two students who were expelled for violating the seminary’s rules against same-sex unions, argue that the religious exemption in Title IX should not protect a nondenominational and independent religious institution.
“It is dangerous and un-American to deny a share in religious freedom for nondenominational and independent religious institutions,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Such a policy would unconstitutionally discriminate against many of America’s religious schools and colleges, including those Catholic schools and colleges that are faithful to their beliefs but legally independent of the Catholic Church.”
The brief, which the Newman Society joined with the Christian Legal Society and other religious organizations, schools, and colleges, calls on the Ninth Circuit court to recognize that an independent institution controlled by a board of trustees with deeply held religious convictions and a religious mission is “controlled by a religious organization” for the purposes of the Title IX exemption.
The Cardinal Newman Society recognizes faithful Catholic schools and colleges and invited several to join the brief, including Belmont Abbey College (N.C.), Benedictine College (Kan.), Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio), Lumen Christi High School (Ind.), Marian High School (Ind.), the Regina Academies (Penn.), and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (N.H.).
Other signers represent a variety of beliefs, including the American Association of Christian Schools, Association for Biblical Higher Education, Association of Christian Schools International, General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.