Biden’s Title IX rule, expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students, blocked by judge in 6 more states

FRANKFURT, Ky. (AP) — The Biden administration’s efforts to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students hit another obstacle Monday, when a federal judge in Kentucky temporarily blocked the new Title IX rule in six additional states.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves called the regulation “arbitrary in the truest sense of the word” in granting a preliminary injunction blocking it in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. His decision comes days after another federal judge Temporarily blocked the new rule to take effect in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana.

Attorneys general from more than 20 Republican-led states have filed at least seven legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s new policy. Republicans challenge policy is a trick to allow transgender girls to play on women’s sports teams. The Biden administration has said the rule does not apply to athletics.

A request for a preliminary injunction filed by the Republican attorneys general of Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota is still under consideration. The Department of Education asked a judge to reject the request.

Scheduled to take effect in August, the rule extends Title IX civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ students, broadens the definition of sexual harassment in schools and colleges, and adds safeguards for victims. Title IX, passed in 1972, is a law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

Monday’s ruling in Kentucky was applauded by the state’s Republican Attorney General Russell Coleman, who said the regulation would undermine equal opportunities for women.

“The judge’s order makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education’s attempt to redefine ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ is unlawful and beyond the agency’s regulatory authority,” said Coleman in a statement.

The Department of Education said it would “continue to fight for every student” when reviewing the decision.

“Title IX ensures that no person experiences sex discrimination in a federally funded educational environment,” the agency said in a statement. “The Department developed the final Title IX regulations following a rigorous process.”

In his ruling, Reeves noted that Title IX was intended to “level the playing field” between men and women in education, but said the department was seeking to “derail a deeply entrenched law” with the new policy.

“Essentially, the Department would overturn Title IX by redefining ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity,’” he said. “But “sex” and “gender identity” don’t mean the same thing. The Department’s interpretation is inconsistent with the plain language of Title IX and therefore exceeds its authority to promulgate regulations under that law.

At a minimum, students of both sexes “would experience violations of their bodily privacy by students of a different sex” if the rule took effect, the judge said.

The rule would require schools to “allow biological males access to women’s intimate spaces and women to men’s intimate spaces, in an educational environment based entirely on a person’s subjective gender identity,” he said. declared. “This outcome is not only impossible to reconcile with Title IX, but also with the broader guarantee of education protections for all students. »

The new rule also has “serious implications for the First Amendment,” the judge said.

“The rule includes a new definition of sexual harassment that may require educators to use pronouns consistent with a student’s purported gender identity rather than their biological sex,” Reeves wrote. “Given the ‘pervasive’ nature of pronoun use in everyday life, educators would likely be required to use students’ preferred pronouns, even if it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs. A rule that requires speech and involves such distinctions of points of view is unacceptable.

The decision by Reeves, who was nominated to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush, is the latest setback for the new protections, which have been praised by civil rights advocates but drawn backlash from opponents who said they undermined the spirit of Title IX. .

The decision was criticized by the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Chris Hartman, its executive director, said the decision “ignores fundamental truths about the transgender community and places transgender children, who are among our smallest and most vulnerable populations, more in the crosshairs.”

David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, a socially conservative and “faith-based” public policy organization in Kentucky, praised the judge for temporarily halting the Biden administration’s “radical redefinition of ‘sex’ that would roll back opportunities dispose women and girls. Enjoyed for 50 years under Title IX.

Several Republican states have laws banning transgender girls from participating on girls’ sports teams. These states argue that the new policy would open the door to such authorization. The Biden administration proposed a separate rule that prohibit such general prohibitionsbut said the newly finalized rule does not apply to athletics.


Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment