A Christian seminary in California has won the right to hold to its biblical understanding of sexuality and not be denied any needed federal aid because of it.
Last year, Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena expelled Nathan Brittsan and Joanna Maxon, two graduate students pursuing their Masters of Divinity, because they entered into same-sex marriages while enrolled at the school. The two then sued the seminary, claiming it had violated the anti-discrimination protections of Title IX and should no longer be eligible for federal funds like student loans.
Now, District Judge Consuelo Marshall has ruled that Fuller qualified under the religious exemption to Title IX and has thrown out the case. Attorney Daniel Blomberg of Becket law firm calls it a major victory for religious freedom.
"A judge in the Central District of California recognized Fuller's well-established right to maintain its own religious beliefs when it comes to training future ministers for the faith," he tells OneNewsNow.
Had the students' lawsuit been successful, it would have put the government in a position to dictate the school's religious principles.
"The contrary decision, and what was being pushed by the plaintiffs, would have allowed government officials to control how ministers are trained," Blomberg explains. "That would be an intolerable violation of any sort of reasonable separation of church and state."
While this court decision technically applies to Fuller Theological Seminary only, Blomberg says the ruling will echo throughout Christian higher education.
"The principles from the judge's decision, which establish and follow well-known law that's been running back to the 1970s and uniformly applied by every administration since the 1970s, are going to be very valuable for religious organizations and colleges and universities across the country," the Becket attorney concludes.