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College of the Ozarks maintains that a federal order violates its policies regarding male and female students in dormitories.
SBJ file
College of the Ozarks maintains that a federal order violates its policies regarding male and female students in dormitories.

14 states support C of O in federal lawsuit

Posted online

College of the Ozarks' federal lawsuit against a Biden administration order gained support from 14 states, as well as a handful of universities and organizations.

The Point Lookout college is going through the appeals process after U.S. District Court Judge Roseann Ketchmark, of the Western District of Missouri, in May denied C of O's request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The suit filed in April alleges violations of religious freedoms by President Joe Biden's January executive order for protections of housing discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

In the suit, C of O argues biological sex is not changeable and that the federal order violates its policies regarding male and female students in dormitories.

“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,” C of O President Jerry C. Davis said in a news release. "We are pleased to see so many other states and organizations join us in this battle.”

Missouri is among the states who filed briefs in support of C of O, and Southwest Baptist University is one of the schools on the list.

The attorneys general of Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia filed briefs. SBU is joined by Hannibal-LaGrange University, Missouri Baptist University and the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention, and the organizations are The Institute for Faith and Family, America First Legal and Mountain State Legal Foundation, according to the release.

The case is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. C of O was granted a request to expedite the case, in which it's seeking to reverse the lower court's decision, according to the release.

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