Layana White and Haley Videckis, two former basketball players at Pepperdine Univ., got a green light from a Federal judge to proceed with discrimination charges against Pepperdine Univ., which is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

The Federal court ruling says that Title IX, which protects against discrimination in education on the basis of gender, extends protections to lesbian and gay students. For decades the Federal law has opened opportunities for female athletes in sports; This latest ruling now offers further protections to the entire LGBT community.

From Matt Hamilton at the Los Angeles Times:

Seeking to dismiss parts of the women's lawsuit, Pepperdine argued in court papers that Title IX does not cover claims based on sexual orientation and that their allegations failed to meet the law's standard for gender stereotype discrimination.

Pregerson, however, disagreed, and said the women could pursue their suit because the alleged maltreatment turned on the nature of each individual's sex in the same-sex relationship.

"Plaintiffs allege that they were told that 'lesbianism' would not be tolerated on the team," Pregerson wrote. "If plaintiffs had been males dating females, instead of females dating females, they would not have been subjected to the alleged different treatment," he said, concluding that the pair have a "straightforward claim of sex discrimination."

The couple claims they were harassed for being in a relationship while on the Green Wave team together. Their suit is brought against the school and head women’s basketball coach Ryan Weisenberg.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, this ruling is huge. Academic institutions, including those affiliated with churches, are put on notice: If you discriminate against LGBT student-athletes, you may be in violation of Title IX.