Late Friday, a federal judge in Tennessee issued an order barring two U.S. agencies from enforcing new Biden administration directives extending Title IX's enforcement of discrimination in schools and workplaces based on gender identity. The U.S. Department of Education had announced the proposed changes (explained below) on June 23 to coincide with the anniversary of Title IX, the landmark civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
But U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. in an order on Friday ruled for the 20 state attorneys general who sued last August claiming the Biden administration directives infringe on states' right to enact laws that, for example, prevent students from participating in sports based on their claimed gender identity or requiring schools and businesses to provide bathrooms and showers to accommodate transgender people.
Alliance Defending Freedom – which represents a group of female athletes in a related case still pending in court – applauds Atchley's ruling that the Biden administration exceeded its authority in issuing orders ADF says "jeopardize fair play" for female athletes. The administration's "radical push," says the legal group, to "redefine sex in federal law" constitutes a legitimate threat to women's sports in general – and eliminates the very opportunities for women that Title IX was intended to protect.
ADF, however, is disappointed with how major news outlets have been covering the proposed Title IX changes. For example, mainstream news operations are not reaching out to ADF's female clients to hear their accounts of what it is like to lose an opportunity on the podium and to "have a guy take away the athletic opportunity that you trained for" over the years.
"They're not covering the stories of the teachers and professors who have been threatened with losing their job if they don't speak something that they know not to be true," explains ADF attorney Matt Sharp. "They're not covering the stories of young women who have been forced to share a locker room or a restroom with a biological male."
From Sharp's perspective, the Biden administration's effort to erase the distinctions between male and female and ultimately harm women, religious freedom, and speech is proof of how emboldened the Left is to push its radical agenda.
According to the Education Department's description, the proposed regulations would:
- Clearly protect students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination.
- Provide full protection from sex-based harassment.
- Protect the right of parents and guardians to support their elementary and secondary school children.
- Require schools to take prompt and effective action to end any sex discrimination in their education programs or activities – and to prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects.
- Protect students and employees who are pregnant or have pregnancy-related conditions.
- Require schools to respond promptly to all complaints of sex discrimination with a fair and reliable process that includes trained, unbiased decisionmakers to evaluate the evidence.
- Require schools to provide supportive measures to students and employees affected by conduct that may constitute sex discrimination, including students who have brought complaints or been accused of sex-based harassment.
- Protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.
- Clarify and confirm protection from retaliation for students, employees, and others who exercise their Title IX rights.
- Improve the adaptability of the regulations' grievance procedure requirements so that all recipients can implement Title IX's promise of nondiscrimination fully and fairly in their educational environments.
- Ensure that schools share their nondiscrimination policies with all students, employees, and other participants in their education programs or activities.