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Some Missouri religious schools are exempt from sex discrimination laws

Among the religious colleges and universities listed as being granted exemptions from having to follow federal Title IX laws is Calvary Bible College in Kansas City. The school was granted a waiver in 1989.
Among the religious colleges and universities listed as being granted exemptions from having to follow federal Title IX laws is Calvary Bible College in Kansas City. The school was granted a waiver in 1989.

At least seven Missouri faith-based colleges are on a federal list of schools that have requested exemptions from gender discrimination laws.

The U.S. Department of Education on Friday released the names of more than 200 colleges and universities that have been exempt from Title IX gender discrimination laws that they feel violate their religious beliefs.

The law, which prohibits discrimination by sex, also says that schools that receive federal funding are required to follow Title IX. Even private religious colleges receive federal funds in the form of tuition dollars paid through federal aid to students.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, though, that some 230 schools asked for waivers from rules barring discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in areas including student admission, housing and employment. More than 50 of the nation’s religious schools have requested waivers to Title IX since 2013.

Some exemption requests had been made as early as the 1970s. Calvary Bible College in Kansas City was granted a waiver in 1989. Other Missouri schools listed include Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis and Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar.

For months, advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights have pressured the federal department to be transparent about the names of exempted schools.

Release of the list comes at a time when some state lawmakers are debating transgender rights and, in particular, which bathrooms transgender students can use in public schools.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

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