(Daily Caller News Foundation) – Mid-Vermont Christian School (MVCS) filed a lawsuit against state officials on Tuesday after they were forced out of the state’s athletic association for refusing to make their girls’ high school basketball team play against a biological male, according to court documents.
In February, MVCS decided not to attend a basketball tournament game against Long Trail School since the team had a male player on its female squad and, as a result, the high school was barred from participating in games in the future since they had violated the association’s Commitment to Racial, Gender Fair and Disability Awareness and Policy Of Gender Identity. The high school filed a lawsuit this week with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) against the association and other state education officials for violating the First Amendment by attempting to force them to change their religious beliefs on sex and gender, according to court documents.
“The State is entitled to its own views, but it is not entitled, nor is it constitutional, to force private, religious schools across the state to follow that orthodoxy as a condition to participating in Vermont’s tuition program and the State’s athletic association,” the lawsuit reads.
Vermont’s Agency of Education also refused to allow the school to participate in its tuition program, despite the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruling in 2021 that it was unconstitutional to exclude religious schools from the program, according to the lawsuit. ADF pointed out that the Supreme Court also ruled in 2022 that private schools could not be prohibited from state tuition programs because of their “religious exercise.”
Vermont changed its requirements in response to the court rulings, forcing schools that participate in the program to stop their “religious exercise” to join the program, according to the lawsuit. Specifically, participating schools must not discriminate against sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Vermont, through its education agency and sports association, has engaged in unconstitutional discrimination by requiring a Christian school and its students to surrender their religious beliefs and practices to receive public funds and compete in sports,” Jake Reed, legal counsel for ADF, said in a press release.
The Vermont Agency of Education, Vermont State Board of Education and the Vermont Principals Association did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.