In a blow to LGBTQ+ rights, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s guidance that bans LGBTQ+ discrimination
Back in March 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that called for the protection of queer individuals within education environments.
The inclusive move was initiated to fall in line with the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in the Bostock v. Clayton County case – which protected LGBTQ+ workers against any form of employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“It is the policy of my Administration that all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Biden said.
“For students attending schools and other educational institutions that receive Federal financial assistance, this guarantee is codified, in part, in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.”
Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Under the guidance, transgender students would also be able to play on sports teams and use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
Unfortunately, a group of Conservative attorney generals across 20 states wasted no time attacking the inclusive measures.
In August 2021, the Republican officials sued the Biden Administration for “enforcing new, expansive, and unlawful interpretations of federal anti-discrimination laws.”
The 20 individuals also claimed that Biden’s order threatened their state’s federal funding.
On 15 July, US District Judge Charles Atchley Jr of Tennessee ruled in favour of the attorneys by blocking the inclusive measure.
“Defendant’s guidance directly interferes with and threatens Plaintiff States’ ability to continue enforcing their state laws,” he said.
“As it currently stands, plaintiffs must choose between the threat of legal consequences – enforcement action, civil penalties, and the withholding of federal funding – or altering their state laws to ensure compliance with the guidance and avoid such adverse action.”
Shortly after the news was announced, LGBTQ+ activists and organisations like the Human Rights Campaign issued statements slamming the harmful verdict.
“We are disappointed and outraged by this ruling from the Eastern District of Tennessee where, in yet another example of far-right judges legislating from the bench, the court blocked guidance affirming what the Supreme Court decided in Bostock v. Clayton: that LGBTQ+ Americans are protected under existing civil rights laws,” said Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign Joni Madison.
“And nothing in this decision eliminates schools’ obligation under Title IX or students’ or parents’ abilities to bring lawsuits in federal court. HRC will continue to fight these anti-transgender rulings with every tool in our toolbox.”