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The Law & Education

May 26, 2022

Welcome back to the Law and Education Podcast! Today’s episode is an informational conversation on the topic of religious exemptions. Over 60% of our clients and community partners are faith-based institutions, so we have been fielding an increasingly high number of questions in the changing landscape. Tune in to learn how to prove that your school or institution qualifies for a religious exemption and hear about the key cases that have brought the exception into question. If your institution intends to use this exemption, you should carefully review the requirements to ensure that any prohibited conduct is closely aligned with your religious tenets. We end our podcast with practical advice on utilizing the summer to prepare for next year. Thanks for tuning in!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to today’s topic and what motivated us to talk about it.
  • Why the burden is on an institution to prove that it qualifies for a religious exemption.
  • The six ways an institution can qualify for the religious exemption.
  • The new Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry Rule that may alter these requirements.
  • A key case on the issue involving Fuller Seminary in 2021 around the dismissal of students married to people of the same sex.
  • The response of LGBTQ+ students contesting the Title IX exemption.
  • Hunter v Department of Education: the class action where plaintiffs allege that the exemption allows taxpayer funded religious institutions to abuse and oppress LGBTQ+ students.
  • The further claim that the lack of action allows LGBTQ+ students to be exposed to conversion therapy, sexual abuse, and harassment in schools.
  • An example of BYU school in Utah that has banned dating between LGBTQ students.
  • The Clarks Summit case where a student was reported to be in a same-sex relationship and thus not permitted to graduate.
  • What to consider as a faith-based institution: clarify your religious tenets, keep your policies narrowly tailored, and widely disseminate them. 
  • Why it is important to be mindful of retaliatory actions regardless of whether someone is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • The importance of consulting legal counsel.
  • Why, if you intend to use this exemption, you should carefully review the requirements to ensure that any prohibited conduct is closely aligned with your religious tenets.
  • Resources to learn more: the broad post on our website and the Religious Exemption Accountability Project. 
  • How you non-Community Partners can join our LISTSERV dedicated to faith-based institutions for 6 months.
  • What ICS is busy with at the moment, assisting on the ground, and partnering with you.
  • Why summer is the time to review your policies and procedures.
  • Title IX University and the benefits of becoming an ICS partner.




Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Religious Exemption Accountability Project

ICS Lawyer

Higher Ed Community Access

K-12 Community Access

Higher Ed Virtual Certified IX Training

K-12 Virtual Certified Title IX Training

ICS Blog

Courtney Bullard on Twitter 

Courtney Bullard Email