Monday, August 15, 2022

USDA Clarifies Title IX Religious Institution Exemption

On Aug. 12, the Department of Agriculture issued a Guidance (full text) clarifying that a Title IX exemption is available for religious educational institutions if there is a conflict between Title IX and a school’s governing religious tenets. The Guidance provides in part:

USDA regulations do not require a religious educational institution to submit a written request for a Title IX exemption in order to claim that exemption.

If, however, a religious educational institution wishes to seek USDA recognition of their religious exemption, it may do so through a written request under USDA regulations....

The Guidance comes after litigation by a Christian school in Florida that objected to submitting an exemption request in order to participate in the USDA's school lunch program and maintain its policies on gender identity. (See prior posting.)  ADF issued a press release on the USDA's action.