A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from protecting transgender students. The ruling by a federal judge in Tennessee applies to 20 states.
Tennessee and 19 other states are fighting president Biden's efforts to enforce Title IX’s protections against discrimination.
At issue is the right of transgender athletes to participate in school sports and to require schools to use their preferred pronouns. Schools that refuse to follow the administration's transgender guidelines could be subject to losing federal funding.
Tennessee's attorney general praised the judge's decision saying the Biden administration had put the state in an impossible situation. The agencies' guidance explains that Tennessee would have to choose between losing federal funding or changing existing state laws to comply.
So far, there's been no reaction from the U.S. Department of Education or the Biden administration to the court's action.
The Biden administration hinged its guidance on the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County that federal civil rights law protects transgender, gay and lesbian workers. The administration has been using the ruling to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ+ people in the US in numerous areas of life. The Education Department’s guidance issued last year had been a reversal of the Trump administration’s stance that gay and transgender students were not protected by the law.
The administration has been working to strengthen some of the protections being challenged in the lawsuit. President Joe Biden announced last month that the Education Department was issuing new rules that would clarify that Title IX’s protections against discrimination apply to sexual orientation and gender identity and that preventing someone from participating in a school program or activity consistent with their gender identity would violate the law.
The proposed changes face a public comment period before being finalized.