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AG Moody: Biden Administration Threatens Religious Liberties at Public Universities

Florida joins 21 states in standing up for religious liberty in public universities after the Biden administration threatens to remove a longstanding policy protecting the First Amendment rights of college students.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Today, Attorney General Ashley Moody said she joined Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and 21 other states in pushing back against the Biden administration’s attempt to rescind protections for student religious groups. Moody, Yost and 20 other state attorneys general sent a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Education, demanding the DOE retains a provision that compels public universities to comply with the First Amendment or lose grant funding.

“Public universities should not be able to pick and choose who has First Amendment protection under our U.S. Constitution,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “These fundamental rights must be vigorously defended. We demand the Biden administration halts efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to remove protections put in place to ensure student religious groups can practice their faith at our public universities.”

The existing rule, established in 2020 to implement U.S. Supreme Court precedent, prohibits public universities from denying student religious groups “any right, benefit or privilege that is otherwise afforded to other student organizations at the public institution” because of a group’s “beliefs, practices, policies, speech, membership standards or leadership standards, which are informed by sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The Biden administration says the existing policy is too confusing and burdensome. But the 22 states argue that student religious organizations are worthy of protection.

Read the full letter here.