Fuller can expel students in same-sex marriages, judge rules


A judge has dismissed an LGBT discrimination case against Fuller Theological Seminary. 

Former students Joanna Maxon and Nathan Brittsan sued the college after they were expelled for being in same-sex marriages - in breach of Fuller's sexual standards policy. 

The expelled students claimed that the seminary's actions were a violation of federal Title IX anti-discrimination laws. 

In his ruling, US District Judge Consuelo Marshall disagreed and found that Fuller was entitled to religious exemptions in the Title IX regulations. 

"Here, although the text of the Religious Organization Exemption may be read to require the 'religious organization' and 'educational institution' to be two separate entities, the ordinary meaning of the term 'organization' is sufficiently broad to include [Fuller's] board of directors," Marshall wrote.

He added that the religious exemption was applicable to Fuller's actions because entering into same-sex marriages is "contrary to the school's religious tenets".

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Fuller in the case, welcomed the judge's verdict. 

Becket senior attorney Daniel Blomberg called it a "huge win" for religious higher education institutions. 

"That's because houses of worship, and not government officials, should be deciding how to teach the next generation of religious leaders," he said.