Education Department opens probe into LGBTQ dating ban at BYU
The U.S. Department of Education has opened a probe into the treatment of LGBTQ students at Brigham Young University, a private school affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Thursday.
The investigation comes after BYU changed its Honor Code in 2020; the school removed a rule banning “homosexual behavior,” but shortly after clarified that same-sex relationships would still be prohibited, and those who break the rule by holding hands or kissing would be disciplined.
The probe, carried out by the Office of Civil Rights, deals with the Education Department’s Title IX protections against discrimination on the basis of sex and will look into whether the rules are justifiable because of BYU’s status as a private religious school or whether they violate LGBTQ rights.
“BYU is exempt from application of Title IX rules that conflict with the religious tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins. “BYU does not anticipate any further action by OCR on this complaint.”
LGBTQ issues have been especially controversial at BYU in recent years. Multiple students and former students have sued the school based on allegations of discrimination.
LDS Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke on the topic at a conference in fall 2021, urging faculty and students to use intellectual “muskets” to defend their faith, including “the doctrine of the family and … marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”
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