May 27, 2024

Conservative states are fighting and even defying the Biden Administrations new Title IX rules on multiple fronts, saying they wont comply with new regulations that rewrite the historic law to include gender identity and that, presumably, will allow biological males to participate in female sports. 

The Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations in April prohibiting discrimination under the historic law on the basis of gender identity, saying the new rules apply to education programs and activities.Title IX, passed in 1972, dramatically transformed women’s sports by mandating equal opportunities. It also led to an increase in female participation and funding in collegiate and high school athletic programs across the United States. The language of the law references only sex.

If left unchallenged, the new regulations will affect everything from restrooms to locker rooms to athletic teams, allowing biological boys who identify as girls to participate. Despite claims from the Department of Education that the new rules do not extend to sports, critics argue that the explicit wording of the regulations clearly indicates otherwise.

At least seven Republican states say they wont comply with the new regulations. 

At least 15 GOP states have filed or joined lawsuits in federal court challenging them. One of those states is Tennessee.

The U.S. Department of Education has no authority to let boys into girls locker rooms, Tennessee Attorney General Skrmetti said in a statement.  In the decades since its adoption, Title IX has been universally understood to protect the privacy and safety of women in private spaces like locker rooms and bathrooms. Under this radical and illegal attempt to rewrite the statute, if a man enters a womans locker room and a woman complains that makes her uncomfortable, the woman will be subject to investigation and penalties for violating the mans civil rights.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order calling the Biden regulation an unlawful administrative rule.

It is declared to be the policy of this state that sex is an immutable characteristic of the human body, rooted in biology and the created order, Sanders order said. The government should celebrate, not erase, sex differences by providing proper protections for them.

The Biden administration, she wrote, is attempting to unilaterally rewrite federal law to advance its radical gender ideology against women and girls.

The Biden administrations facially absurd redefinition of sex in Title IX turns back the clock on womens opportunities, erodes student privacy, threatens womens sports, and erases women, she said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott penned a letter to Biden and said he had instructed the Texas Education Agency to ignore the presidents illegal dictate.

Title IX was written by Congress to support the advancement of women academically and athletically, Abbott wrote to Biden. The law was based on the fundamental premise that there are only two sexes male and female. You have rewritten Title IX to force schools to treat boys as if they are girls and to accept every students self-declared gender identity. This ham-handed effort to impose a leftist belief onto Title IX exceeds your authority as President.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posted a video on social media saying his state will not comply.

Florida rejects [President Bidens] attempt to rewrite Title IX, he said. We will not comply, and we will fight back.

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen signed a similar executive order and said his state would not follow the new regulations.

Protecting our kids and womens athletics is my duty, Pillen said in a statement. The President’s new rules threaten the safety of women and their right to participate in womens sports. Nebraska will not comply. We must fight against radical gender ideology and vigorously protect the rights of Nebraska women and girls.

In Louisiana, Gov. Jeff Landry and Attorney General Liz Murrill joined Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley in criticizing the Biden rule. Brumley told schools not to comply. 

In Oklahoma, school Superintendent Ryan Walters sent a memo to schools labeling the Biden regulation illegal and unconstitutional and asking schools not to follow it. 

In South Carolina, Superintendent Ellen Weaver told schools not to comply, saying the regulation likely will be struck down in the courts. 

Photo credit: Getty Images/Lighthouse Films

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.