Biden’s Title IX protections for LGBTQ+ students blocked in six more states

US president Joe Biden

A federal judge has temporarily blocked amendments to Title IX, that would have increased protections for LGBTQ+ students, in six more states.

On Monday (17 June), district judge Danny Reeves granted a preliminary injunction, blocking amendments in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The ruling comes just days after a similar decision by district judge Terry Doughty, who blocked the expansion coming into force in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho.

Title IX is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation which protects people from discrimination based on sex, in education programmes or activities that receive federal financial assistance, and is best-known for ensuring gender equality in college sports.

President Joe Biden finalised new Title IX anti-discrimination rules – first proposed in 2022 – in April, which aim to protect people in public schools from sex-based discrimination and harassment, providing explicit protections for LGBTQ+ pupils and expressly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, Republicans were unhappy with the measures, describing them as “destructive policies that put women at risk”, and have taken steps to sue the Biden administration.

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A Pride flag stylised like the US flag being waved at a Pride parade (Canva)
A Pride flag stylised like the US flag being waved at a Pride parade. (Canva)

In his ruling, Reeves wrote: “There are two sexes: male and female. More than 50 years ago, congress recognised that girls and women were not receiving educational opportunities that were equal to those afforded to their male counterparts.

“It attempted to remedy this historical inequity through the passage of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, commonly known as Title IX. And for more than 50 years, educational institutions across the country risk losing federal funding if they fail to comply with the dictates of the statute.”

But, the executive branch of the US government is now looking to “dramatically alter the purpose and meaning of Title IX”, he added.

“Six states, an association of Christian educators, and one 15-year-old girl object. As they correctly argue, the new rule contravenes the plain text of Title IX by redefining ‘sex’ to include gender identity, violates government employees’ First Amendment rights, and is the result of arbitrary and capricious rule-making.

“If the new rule is allowed to take effect on 1 August, all plaintiffs will suffer immediate and irreparable harm.

“Because the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claims, and the public interest and equities highly favour their position, the new rule will be enjoined and its application stayed.”

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