Lawsuit against Catholic University’s same-sex dorms dismissed
posted at 6:05 pm on December 2, 2011 by Tina Korbe
If a positive conclusion exists to be written, I’m more than happy to write it. Earlier this summer, I highlighted a George Washington University law professor’s intention to sue Catholic University of America for its administration’s decision to reinstate same-sex dorms. The professor argued CUA’s decision violated the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act and constituted “gender discrimination.”
At the time, I wrote:
According to a CUA statement, [CUA president John] Garvey is “confident” the law does not require men and women to be housed in the same residence halls. I hope he’s right — for the sake of the students who stand to benefit (among other things, they’ll be less likely to face alcohol-related accidents or be depressed), but also because I couldn’t help but see in CUA’s decision an expression of traditional Catholic morality — a morality that explicitly warns against drunkenness and sex outside of marriage and that also suggests temptation is best avoided.
Garvey didn’t cite religious reasons for his decision, but perhaps he should have. If a Mennonite school can ban the national anthem, then surely a Catholic school can establish living norms that tend to support the teaching of the Catholic Church. As with Goshen College, CUA is a private school and, as such, should have the prerogative to establish its own rules in matters like this one. If students dislike those rules, they can vote with their feet — by, for example, attending nearby GW, [plaintiff John] Banzhaf’s own school, which recently enacted gender-blind housing.
Happily, Garvey was right. The Christian Post reports:
On Tuesday the District of Columbia has dismissed the complaint, saying that having single-sex dormitories was not unlawful under the District’s Human Rights Act. That is probably a relief to many. …
In the District’s written response, they say that Banzhaf’s complaint merely offered “conjecture and speculation” on how the school’s policy may affect women and also saying that his examples were “not factual allegations.”
CUA President John Garvey wanted to move away from what he considered “mixed-gender housing” in an effort to crack down on alcohol abuse and causal sex among students and was elated by the agency’s decision.
Score one for liberty!
P.S. In case you wondered, yes, this is the same John Banzhaf who brought a complaint against CUA for not providing Muslim students rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers. What’s his problem, anyway?