Title IX was initiated with two motives: first, to protect individual identity and integrity, and second, to discourage discriminatory actions funded by federal resources. It appreciated the essence of human evolution and offered equal opportunities on all platforms.

Although the law is equal for all, religious institutions are entitled to exemption from the Title IX act. This is solely due to their religious nature. Let us dive into the details of it.

What is Title IX?

The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights formulated the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The act prohibits discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The law applies to all educational organizations, schools, and colleges that are funded by federal agencies.

The avenues of discrimination include admissions, research camps, training programs, hiring for jobs, distribution of financial aids and services, athletics, mental or sexual harassment, conduct with married, pregnant, or parenting fellows, and binary or non-binary students.

How is Title IX interpreted in religious institutions?

The private institutions that function according to a particular religious belief system are recognized as religious institutions. 

Title IX exemptions for religious schools were provided to accommodate holy customs in the changing times. Now, it has given rise to variable interpretations, which are not in equilibrium with the existing society. Few points that highlight the situation are listed below.

  1. In cases where the provisions of Title IX do not resonate with their ideology, the institution has the authority to quash such sections within their territory.
  2. The law has not prescribed a mandatory procedure for such institutions to verify these exemptions.
  3. The institution can request indemnity by submitting a formal request to the Associate of Civil Rights. Simultaneously, if an issue is raised in the court against the institution, it can revoke the Title IX sections on its own, even without any proceedings towards the request.

Mostly, it is the non-binary students who have to bear the brunt of such an exemption.  It has been seen many times where the faith-based institutions have cited their religious scriptures as a reason for unequal treatment towards people who do not fall in their binary thought process.

There is a constant battle between enforcing code of conduct vs. discrimination which leads to multiple cases, where students who have identified themselves as a part of the LGBTQ community or were engaged in things beyond honor codes, such as same-sex relationship, were served the notice for violation of the code, resulting in a denial of financial aid and other institutional services. This severely hampers their education and mental health.

According to a report by Movement Advancement Project, 79 educational institutes across the U.S have received an exemption from Title IX, which marks the fact that such institutions carry the formal badge to continue discrimination against non-binary people.

It was the Arcadia settlement in 2013 that marked the beginning of the change in this exemption process for religious organizations. The case established the urgency to establish a non-discriminatory policy to protect such students and employees for the protection of their life and psychological well-being.

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