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Trump judge blocks Biden’s Title IX protections for LGBTQ+ students in four more states

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A federal district court judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has blocked the enforcement of the Biden administration’s expanded Title IX rules in four more states and many different schools across the nation.

Judge John W. Broomes of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas issued the third such ruling against the Department of Education’s rules, and it applies to Alaska, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming, as well as a Stillwater, Oklahoma, middle school where a student sued, and to the members of three anti-LGBTQ+ organizations that sued, including the extremist group Moms for Liberty. Previous injunctions restricted these rules in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The lawsuit says that Moms for Liberty must outline all schools that their members’ children attend so that exemptions from the Title IX rules can apply to each school. This could potentially mean thousands of schools across the nation will be exempted from these rules.

This injunction will remain in effect as a lawsuit in Kansas is being worked through in court, something that Broomes expects the plaintiffs will win.

Broomes’s main argument is that “sex,” as defined in Title IX, does not extend to gender identity and sexual orientation. This goes against legal precedent established in Bostock v. Clayton County, a Supreme Court case where Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based job discrimination was found to apply to LGBTQ+ people as well, legal reasoning that the Biden administration applied to Title IX, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex in schools.

“The Final Rule clearly decides major questions involving whether to force schools, students, and teachers to accept an individual’s subjective gender identity regardless of biological sex. Further, it determines whether biological males who identify as females are allowed in female bathrooms and locker rooms,” Broomes wrote.

“Based on this court’s extensive discussion herein, at the time of enactment, sex discrimination under Title IX meant discrimination based on biological sex. Title IX did not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.”

Broomes also states that these Title IX rules “violate the First Amendment,” a common claim by conservatives who argue that they have a legal right to misgender trans people. Additionally, Broomes argues that cisgender boys could use gender identity as an excuse to violate the privacy of girls in their locker rooms, which is not a widespread problem.

The rules, introduced in April of this year, expand gender-based protections under Title IX under the idea that it’s impossible to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people without taking sex assigned at birth into account. The new protections also prohibited discrimination on the basis of one’s abortion history. The rules rolled back policies put in place by the Trump administration that undermined anti-discrimination protection for LGBTQ+ people put in place by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

Many conservatives argue that these expanded rules will lead to transgender youth being integrated into sports teams of their identified gender, something that the Biden administration has denied.

The lawsuit was filed on May 14, 2024 by an anonymous minor at a middle school in Oklahoma, Moms for Liberty, Young America’s Foundation, and Female Athletes United. The defendants are the Department of Education, Department of Justice, and the officials ruling and serving in both organizations.

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