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Biden Administration’s New Title IX Rules Are Blocked in Six More States

U.S.Biden Administration’s New Title IX Rules Are Blocked in Six More States

A federal judge on Monday blocked the Biden administration’s new Title IX regulations in six more states as Republicans and conservative groups try to overturn a policy that expanded protections for L.G.B.T.Q. students.

In a 93-page opinion, Judge Danny C. Reeves of the Eastern District of Kentucky ruled that the Education Department had overreached in expanding the definition of “sex” to include gender identity.

Judge Reeves halted the regulations in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia just days after a federal judge made a similar ruling for Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho.

Title IX, which was passed in 1972, prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding. The new regulations broadened the scope of the law to prohibit unequal treatment of pregnant students and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But a coalition of conservative and Christian advocacy groups, as well as attorneys general in Republican states, have argued that the protections for transgender students like access to locker rooms and bathrooms matching their gender identity come at the expense of others’ privacy and conflict with a number of state laws.

More than 20 Republican states are petitioning to block the rules from taking effect as scheduled on Aug. 1. A spokesman for the Education Department said the agency was tracking 10 lawsuits challenging the rules.

Echoing other recent rulings against the new regulations, Judge Reeves rejected the Education Department’s central rationale: that the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County — which found that gay and transgender workers are protected from workplace discrimination under the Civil Rights Act — justified extending those protections to students under Title IX.

Opponents of the rules have argued, and Judge Reeves agreed in his ruling, that separating students based on sex on sports teams and in facilities like dormitories and bathrooms was integral to Title IX’s purpose of ensuring equal opportunities for women when it was passed in 1972, and that the Biden administration’s interpretation confused that intent.

“In essence, the final rule accommodates a reality in which student housing remains sex-segregated while students are free to choose the bathrooms and locker rooms they use based on gender identity,” he wrote.

Judge Reeves also pushed back on the rule on First Amendment grounds, questioning whether teachers who refused to use a student’s preferred pronouns could be looked into for sexual harassment under the rule, even if using pronouns “consistent with a student’s purported gender identity” violated their religious or moral beliefs.

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