BYU officials are pleased but not surprised over a federal judge's affirmation of the school's housing policy, which requires approved landlords to segregate students from non-students.

U.S. District Chief Judge David Winder has ruled that landlords can advertise their housing as available only to BYU students, rent only to BYU students and segregate those students by sex and marital status."Renting only to students while refusing to rent to non-students does not violate the Fair Housing Act," Winder said in his 31-page ruling, which granted summary judgment to a dozen landlords.

"We are pleased that the judge ruled as quickly as he did and with such a strong affirmation of our off-campus housing policy," said Eugene Bramhall, general counsel for BYU.

"We're very disappointed in the ruling," said Jensie Anderson, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU is considering an appeal, she said.

The university requires single students under age 25 to live in single-sex buildings on campus and in separate, privately owned apartment complexes off campus. The students are prohibited from consumption of alcohol and coffee, smoking, immodest dress and other conduct proscribed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Landlords must agree to apply those standards in order to be certified by BYU as off-campus housing providers.

The ACLU sued a dozen landlords after a man and a woman, neither of them students, were not allowed to rent apartments at several complexes.

The two said they were discriminated against because of their religion, sex and family status. The man, Mark Wilson, tried to rent an apartment at complexes that rent only to students and complexes that rent only to female students. He falsely claimed to be a single parent and tried to rent an apartment at a complex that rents only to singles. He was turned away.

The woman, Anne Walker, tried to rent an apartment at complexes that rent only to male students.

The plaintiffs and ACLU argued that the landlords' rental practices violated the Fair Housing Act. The landlords, and BYU, argued that Title IX, a federal law enacted to prevent sex discrimination in education, allows schools to segregate by sex in apartment and dorms.

Winder agreed with the landlords and BYU. The regulations in the law make it clear that BYU can segregate its students by sex in both on-campus and off-campus housing, he ruled.

To say that Title IX applies to on-campus housing but not off-campus housing is a "cramped interpretation" of the law that is "unacceptable," Winder said.

"It never seemed to make a lot of sense to us that Title IX would allow a university to have an approved off-campus housing program that would separate students by gender, but private landlords couldn't be a part of that program. The judge read it the same way," Bramhall said.

Richard Knapp, one of the landlord defendants in the case, said he's pleased with the ruling.

"The decision was very decisive. The fact that it was so much in our favor might deter an appeal from the ACLU. If it was a closer decision, maybe we would be worried."

The landlords paid over $20,000 to defend themselves, he said. BYU picked up the rest of the tab.

Even if Title IX didn't give BYU power to contract with landlords, Wilson and Walker didn't have the legal standing to challenge the practice, Winder ruled.

In order for someone to have legal standing to challenge a practice, they must show how the practice injured them.

Wilson and Walker failed to show how the housing policy harmed them, Winder wrote.

The two said they were discriminated against because of their religion, but they didn't prove that, Winder said.

"In this case, the plaintiffs have not alleged either that they are non-Mormons or that they have been discriminated against because of their religious practices or beliefs," he wrote. They didn't provide any evidence that shows the landlords even knew what their religion was.

They said they were discriminated against because of their family standing, but they didn't claim to have children, Winder wrote.

"We're troubled by that part of the opinion," Anderson said. "We still feel our plaintiffs had legal standing."

Bramhall declined comment on the standing issue.

It will be business as usual for BYU and the landlords in the wake of the ruling.

"I can't see any reason to make any changes at all," Bramhall said.