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Education Department dismisses complaint over LGBTQ dating ban at BYU following probe

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The Department of Education has dismissed a complaint against Brigham Young University over its ban on same-sex romantic relationships following a probe into the treatment of LGBTQ students at the school. 

In a letter to BYU President Kevin J. Worthen, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on Tuesday wrote that even though the school, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is subject to Title IX protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, it is also entitled to a number of exemptions due to its religious affiliations.

The letter listed fifteen regulatory provisions that it said the school is exempt from, saying they would “conflict with the religious tenets of the University’s controlling religious organization that pertain to sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“Because the University is exempt from the above-referenced regulatory provisions of Title IX,” the letter said, “OCR lacks jurisdiction to address the complaint’s allegations. Accordingly, OCR is dismissing this complaint.” 

The Department of Education opened its probe into the treatment of LGBTQ students at BYU after the school changed its honor code in 2020 to remove a rule banning “homosexual behavior” on its campus, but shortly after clarified that same-sex relationships would still be prohibited and students who violated the rules would be disciplined 

In a statement, BYU acknowledged the outcome of the Department of Education’s probe. 

“BYU had anticipated that OCR would dismiss the complaint because OCR has repeatedly recognized BYU’s religious exemption for Title IX requirements that are not consistent with the religious tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the school said.

Tags Brigham Young University BYU Office for Civil Rights Title IX U.S. Department of Education

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