Christian School Sues Vermont After Being Excluded From Tuition and Sports Programs for its Religious Beliefs on LGBT Issues

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A Christian school in Vermont is suing the state’s education officials for unlawful discrimination after it was excluded from participating in a state tuition program and in school athletics over its conservative religious views on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Christian Post (CP) reports.

A K-12 institution in Quechee, on Nov. 20, the Mid Vermont Christian School filed a federal lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Vermont against the leaders of the Vermont Agency of Education, the Vermont State Board of Education, and the Vermont Principals’ Association, CP reports.

The lawsuit attests that the school was excluded from the state’s Town Tuititioning Program, which allows students who live in districts that do not have a public high school to attend an “approved independent school” using public funds, because it refused to state it will abide by the Vermont Public Accommodations Act and the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act, CP reports.

The Accommodations Act prohibits owners or operators of public accommodations from denying people the “accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of the place of public accommodation” based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Fair Employment Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees “because of … religion … sexual orientation, [and] gender identity.”

Refusing to sign a form of agreement with these laws on its website, Mid Vermont Christian School told officials it would operate in accordance with its religious beliefs instead. “As a religious organization, the school has a statutory and constitutional right to make decisions based on its religious beliefs, including hiring and disciplining employees, associating with others, and in its admissions, conduct, and operations policies and procedures,” the school said.

Mid Vermont Christian School has also been excluded by the Vermont Principals’ Association from participating in any middle or high school sports in the state because of its religious beliefs concerning LGBT issues. In particular, the school does not accept the VPA’s policy of allowing trans-identified students to compete on sports teams that align with their stated gender identity rather than their biological sex.

The school has asked the court for an injunction that would block state officials from “denying Mid Vermont Christian as an approved independent school capable of receiving public benefits because of its religious character, beliefs, or exercise” and from excluding it from state sports activities on the grounds of its religious beliefs.

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