The department said it will not require religious educational institutions to submit written requests for Title IX exemptions. They will be able to claim them automatically, ending a struggle over a Title IX expansion to include gender identity.

According to The Hill:

Religious schools will not be required to follow new Title IX regulations in order to receive federal meal funding, the Agriculture Department (USDA) said in new guidance.

USDA in May announced it would be broadening its definition of sex-based discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and said schools and other qualifying organizations would need to update their nondiscrimination policies accordingly to receive funding from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), including for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

The announcement set off a firestorm of protest from religious institutions who said the new mandate infringes on their rights to freedom of speech and religion, and accused the Biden administration of holding school lunches hostage to further its agenda.

But in a document dated Aug. 12, USDA clarified that it does not require religious schools to submit written requests for a Title IX exemption in order to claim one.

There are several exceptions to Title IX – the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination – the department said, including one permitting an institution to be exempt “if there is a conflict between Title IX and a school’s governing religious tenets.”

Read more at The Hill.

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