Biden’s Title IX rule change temporarily blocked over LGBTQ protections

Written by on June 18, 2024

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(WASHINGTON) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s Title IX expansion from going into effect in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves criticized the Department of Education in a decision issued Monday, claiming it “fails to provide a reasoned explanation for departing from its longstanding interpretations regarding the meaning of sex and provided virtually no answers to many of the difficult questions that arose during the public comment phase.”

In April, the finalized federal rules officially added “gender identity” to the list of protections from sex-based discrimination for the first time. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex at any institution that receives federal funding.

“For more than 50 years, Title IX has promised an equal opportunity to learn and thrive in our nation’s schools free from sex discrimination,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona previously said in a statement on the rule change. “These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming and respect their rights.

Schools could violate Title IX if a transgender person isn’t allowed to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity or if they are not referred to by their chosen pronoun, according to senior administration officials.

This change directly conflicts with several state laws that ban transgender students from using facilities — like bathrooms or locker rooms — that align with their gender identity and restrict the use of chosen pronouns and names, either by requiring parental permission or by allowing teachers to not use the preferred pronouns and name.

Several states with such laws are behind the lawsuits attempting to hinder the rule change.

Reeves’s ruling comes just a few days after another federal judge temporarily blocked the rules from taking effect several other states.

State leaders applauded the judge’s decision.

“We fought hard to protect our constitutional separation of powers, which ensures that the people through their elected representatives are the only authority that can make new laws,” said Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.

The Title IX change from the Biden administration had been welcomed by LGBTQ advocates, students and families who have been met with anti-LGBTQ legislation throughout the year.

The ACLU has recorded more than 500 laws targeting the LGBTQ community in 2023 many of which were centered on school activity.

Several legal organizations, including Lamba Legal, argue that Title IX has long guaranteed that transgender youth “have an equal right to go about their everyday lives at school in peace and with dignity,” said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Peter Renn in a May statement on its case against Idaho bathroom restrictions

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