20 states sue over Biden admin school, work LGBT protections

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08/31/2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Attorneys general from 20 states sued President Joe Biden’s administration Monday seeking to halt directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, ranging from transgender girls participating in school sports to the use of school and workplace bathrooms that align with a person’s gender identity. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, arguing that legal interpretations by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are based on a faulty view of U.S. Supreme Court case law. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that a landmark civil rights law, under a provision called Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment. This June, the Department of Education said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity will be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects against sex discrimination in education. A legal analysis by the department concluded there is “no persuasive or well-founded basis” to treat education differently than employment. Also in June, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidance about what could constitute discrimination against LGBTQ people and advised the public about how to file a complaint. With its guidance, the Biden administration in part took a stand against laws and proposals in a growing number of states that aim to forbid transgender girls from participating on female sports teams. The state attorneys general contend that the authority over such policies “properly belongs to Congress, the States, and the people.” “The guidance purports to resolve highly controversial and localized issues such as whether employers and schools may maintain sex-separated showers and locker rooms, whether schools must allow biological males to compete on female athletic teams, and whether individuals may be compelled to use another person’s preferred pronouns,” the lawsuit states. “But the agencies have no authority to resolve those sensitive questions, let alone to do so by executive fiat without providing any opportunity for public participation.” Joining Tennessee in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

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