U.S. Department of Ed admits it has no authority to safeguard same-sex dating at religious schools

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Brigham Young University

At least for the moment, homosexuals do not have the special right to ignore the rules of private academic institutions.

The U.S. Department of Education recently ended a civil-rights probe into how LGBTQ students are disciplined at Brigham Young University, admitting it doesn’t have the power of enforcement at the private religious school, the Associated Press reported.

At least, not yet.

The investigation stemmed from the school’s saying it would continue to enforce a ban on same-sex dating even after wording to that effect was removed from the school’s honor code.

Students can be punished for holding hands or kissing with a person of the same sex, and face steeper penalties than those faced by heterosexual couples at the school, which is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Punishments range from discipline to suspension or expulsion.

Nearly all attendees are members of the Mormon church, which has softened its stance in recent years but remains doctrinally opposed to same-sex marriage and extra-marital sex.

BYU announced in a news release on Feb. 10 that the government’s closed investigation affirms “the freedom to operate a religious university without sacrificing distinctive religious beliefs.”

On Thursday, LGBTQ students who chose BYU despite its very public stance on homosexual behavior expressed disappointment with the decision, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I wanted to believe something would come out of this,” said Madi Hawes, a BYU sophomore who is bisexual. “I had hope, but that’s all it was, hope.”

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