5 religious liberty lawsuits brought against universities this year

Throughout 2022, many religious freedom lawsuits were brought against colleges and universities across the country.

Here are the 5 biggest religious freedom lawsuits.

Throughout 2022, many religious freedom lawsuits were brought against colleges and universities across the country.

Here are the 5 biggest religious freedom lawsuits.

5Christian PA sues university hospital after being fired for refusing to assist with ‘gender assignment’ referrals

Physician Assistant Valerie Kloosterman filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan Health-West (UMHW) in October claiming that she was fired for her Christian beliefs, which prohibit her from using preferred pronouns and recommending “gender transitioning” procedures. 

Formerly known as Metropolitan Hospital, UMHW became affiliated with the University of Michigan Health System in 2016. Subsequentially, leadership changed resulting in new required training. In 2018, Kloosterman was informed that she must complete training on how to treat LGBTQ+ patients.

4WA Attorney General fights court to investigate a university for upholding Christian teaching

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson fought to continue his investigation into Seattle Pacific University (SPU) earlier this year to determine whether the school can require faculty to adhere to the biblical teaching of sexuality.

On Aug. 18, Ferguson filed a motion to dismiss a July 27 lawsuit the Christian school filed in response to the AG Office’s investigation into its “Employee Lifestyle Expectation” clause. The policy, which is binding for all university staff, prohibits same-sex relationships. While the AG Office claimed that the policy “illegally violate[s] Washingtonians’ civil rights,” SPU claimed that the investigation infringes on its religious liberty.

3Christian students receive $800k in free speech lawsuit ruling

After a prolonged legal battle with Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) over violations of their First Amendment rights, students Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford were finally granted a settlement of $800,000. 

The controversy, which eventually made it all the way to the Supreme Court, dates back to the Spring of 2016 when GGC officials restricted Uzuegbunam’s efforts to share his evangelical Christian faith on campus. GGC is a public college that at the time required students to book appointments in one of their two designated free speech zones to speak openly.

2Christian college loses plea to keep men out of women’s dorms

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled against the College of the Ozarks’s (CofO) lawsuit against the Biden administration’s directive that universities permit student housing based on gender identity. The court ruled against the Christian college in Point Lookout, Missouri, on July 27. CofO filed the suit in 2021. 

CofO challenged the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) after a memo was issued in Feb. 2021 that prohibited discrimination based on “gender identity or sexual orientation” under the Fair Housing Act. The appellate court, however, upheld a lower ruling to toss the case on the basis that the college lacked sufficient standing to sue. “The district court ruled that the College lacked standing to establish a case or controversy and dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction,” the July 27 ruling stated. “The College appeals, and we affirm.”

1UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court halts a New York Supreme Court ruling that would force a Jewish university to recognize LGBTQ groups

On Sept. 9 Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer ordered that Yeshiva University (YU), a Jewish private college in New York, is not required by law to recognize LGBTQ groups on campus. 

“IT IS ORDERED that the injunction of the New York trial court, case No. 154010/2021, is hereby stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court,” Sotomayer wrote. Campus Reform previously reported on the lawsuit when YU was sued after denying an LGBTQ student group, the YU Pride Alliance, to be officially recognized on campus.