Brigham Young University Under Federal DOE Investigation for Punishment of Same-Sex Students

Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University Getty Images

Students at the school can be punished for kissing and holding hands as same-sex couples.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating how LGBTQ+ students are disciplined after Brigham Young University, a religious institution, said that they would enforce a ban on same-sex dating, The Associated Press reported.

Students at the Utah school can now be punished for holding hands or kissing the same sex, and the punishment is reportedly harsher for same-sex couples than heterosexual couples.

The school, which is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, removed its ban on “homosexual behavior” in 2020, and many students came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community, but weeks later the school said that same-sex dating is still banned, the AP reported.

The federal investigation into the matter, which began late last year, is being conducted by department’s Office for Civil Rights under Title IX, the law that protects against discrimination on the basis of sex in schools.

The school is maintaining its position despite the investigation.

“BYU is exempt from application of Title IX rules that conflict with the religious tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Carri Jenkins said in a statement.

It is not common for church-owned schools to come under federal investigation.

In 2021, BYU’s President Kevin Worthen wrote to the DOE stating that everyone who attends the school agrees to ‘voluntarily commit to conduct their lives in accordance with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The DOE confirmed to the AP that the investigation is still ongoing, but wouldn’t release further details.

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