The same attorney who has won public notice for trying to sue McDonald’s on the grounds that the institution is responsible for America’s obesity is now behind the now well-known sex-discrimination lawsuit against Catholic University’s decision to reintroduce single-sex dormitories. Citing District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act, Professor Banzhaf believes CUA’s decision does not qualify for the Act’s exemption of discrimination of any kind outside of “business necessity”: “without such exception [discrimination on the basis of sex], such business cannot be conducted.”
Banzhaf has won numerous sex discrimination cases before, all of the variety one would expect from someone suing a Catholic institution for trying to discourage binge-drinking and casual sex: Several have resulted in the ordering of dry cleaners to charge women no more than men to launder shirts, several bars which were required to end the practice of “ladies-nights” under which pricing was based upon gender, dozens of hair salons which were required to charge women the same as men for basic hair cuts, etc.
While Banzhaf is confident that he’ll succeed, citing Georgtown’s 1988 failed attempt to withhold institutional endorsement of homosexual interest groups on the grounds that such endorsement conflicted with strongly-held Catholic teaching and, consequentially, a “business necessity,” let’s hope he doesn’t and CUA can continue its pursuit of an authentic Catholic identity. With public loyalty to the Apostolic See, a majority of Catholics on the board of trustees and faculty, mandatory mandatum and required theologians’ oath, single-sex dormitories would be one more good reason for students interested in a distinctly Catholic learning environment to choose CUA.
For more on the case, Banzhaf sums up his interests here