Biden's Title IX law expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students is dealt another setback (2024)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Biden administration’s effort to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students hit another roadblock Monday, when a federal judge in Kentucky temporarily blocked the new Title IX rule in six additional states.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves referred to the regulation as “arbitrary in the truest sense of the word” in granting a preliminary injunction blocking it in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. His ruling comes days after a different federal judge temporarily blocked the new rule from taking effect in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana.

Attorneys general in more than 20 Republican-led states have filed at least seven legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s new policy. Republicans argue the policy is a ruse to allow transgender girls to play on girls athletic teams. The Biden administration said the rule does not apply to athletics.

Still under consideration is a request for a preliminary injunction filed by the Republican attorneys general of Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Education Department has asked a judge to deny the request.

Set to take hold in August, the rule expands Title IX civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ students, expands the definition of sexual harassment at schools and colleges, and adds safeguards for victims. Title IX, passed in 1972, is a law that bars sex discrimination in education.

The ruling Monday in Kentucky was applauded by the state’s Republican attorney general, Russell Coleman, who said the regulation would undermine equal opportunities for women.

“The judge’s order makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education’s attempt to redefine ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ is unlawful and beyond the agency’s regulatory authority,” Coleman said in a statement.

The Education Department said it would “continue to fight for every student” as it reviews the ruling.

“Title IX guarantees that no person experience sex discrimination in a federally funded educational environment,” the agency said in a statement. “The department crafted the final Title IX regulations following a rigorous process.”

In his ruling, Reeves noted that Title IX was intended to “level the playing field” between men and women in education but said the department was seeking to “derail deeply rooted law” with the new policy.

“At bottom, the department would turn Title IX on its head by redefining ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity,’” he said. “But ‘sex’ and ‘gender identity’ do not mean the same thing. The department’s interpretation conflicts with the plain language of Title IX and therefore exceeds its authority to promulgate regulations under that statute.”

At a minimum, students of both sexes would “experience violations of their bodily privacy by students of a different sex” if the rule took effect, the judge said.

The rule would mandate that schools “permit biological men into women’s intimate spaces, and women into men’s, within the educational environment based entirely on a person’s subjective gender identity,” he said. “This result is not only impossible to square with Title IX but with the broader guarantee of education protection for all students.”

The new rule also has “serious First Amendment implications,” the judge said.

“The rule includes a new definition of sexual harassment which may require educators to use pronouns consistent with a student’s purported gender identity rather than their biological sex,” Reeves wrote. “Based on the ‘pervasive’ nature of pronoun usage in everyday life, educators likely would be required to use students’ preferred pronouns regardless of whether doing so conflicts with the educator’s religious or moral beliefs. A rule that compels speech and engages in such viewpoint discrimination is impermissible.”

The ruling by Reeves, who was appointed to the federal bench by Republican President George W. Bush, was the latest setback for the new protections, which were praised by civil rights advocates but drew backlash from opponents who say they undermine the spirit of Title IX.

The decision was blasted by the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Chris Hartman, its executive director, said the ruling “ignores basic truths about the transgender community and further places in the crosshairs transgender kids, who are among our smallest and most vulnerable populations.”

David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, a socially conservative, “faith-based” public policy organization in Kentucky, praised the judge for temporarily halting the Biden administration’s “radical redefinition of ‘sex’ that would reverse opportunities that women and girls have enjoyed for 50 years under Title IX.”

Several GOP states have laws forbidding transgender girls from competing on girls sports teams. Those states argue that the new policy would open the door to allowing it. The Biden administration has proposed a separate rule that would forbid such blanket bans, but said the newly finalized rule does not apply to athletics.


Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.

Biden's Title IX law expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students is dealt another setback (2024)


Biden's Title IX law expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students is dealt another setback? ›

Biden's Title IX law expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students is dealt another setback. FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Biden administration's effort to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students hit another roadblock Monday, when a federal judge in Kentucky temporarily blocked the new Title IX rule in six additional states.

Does Title IX apply to gender? ›

This notice clarifies that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Is Title IX of the education Amendments a gender neutral law? ›

It protects against discrimination based on sex (including sexual harassment). In addition, Title IX protects transgender students and students who do not conform to sex stereotypes. State law also prohibits discrimination based on gender (sex), gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

What does Title IX protect against discrimination at educational institutions based on? ›

Title IX is a federal law that was passed in 1972 to ensure that male and female students and employees in educational settings are treated equally and fairly. It protects against discrimination based on sex (including sexual harassment).

Is LGBTQ a protected class? ›

If you think that you have experienced discrimination at work, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has taken the position that LGBTQ people are protected under Title VII.

What are the issues with Title IX? ›

Unfortunately, Title IX coordinators often lack the support, guidance and training needed to complete their work. Some of the most egregious Title IX violations occur when schools fail to designate a Title IX coordinator or when the Title IX coordinator does not have the training or authority to oversee compliance.

What is an example of a Title IX violation? ›

Sexual abuse or assault, battery, or coercion. Unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or completed rape. Use of force or manipulation of unwanted sexual activity. Physical acts where a person is incapable of giving consent or is against a person's will.

What is Title IX in simple terms? ›

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

Why was Title IX created? ›

Congress enacted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which requires that no person be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex under “any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” It authorizes any federal agency ...

How does Title IX support me as a student? ›

TItle IX requires institutions to protect all students, faculty, and staff from sex-based discrimination, a term that includes both sexual harassment and sexual violence. If the administration is made aware of an incident, colleges must take immediate steps to address the issue.

What did Title IX ban in higher education? ›

Every student deserves educational opportunity free from discrimination. That is why today the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released its Final Rule under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

What is the Title IX Amendment 2024? ›


The April 2024 final regulations promote educational equity and opportunity for students across the country by strengthening and clarifying protections that address all forms of sex discrimination, including sex-based harassment and sexual violence.

Does Title 9 apply to males? ›

Myth: Title IX applies only to discrimination against women. While Title IX has been used mostly by women seeking to protect their rights, Title IX also serves to protect the rights of men. Title IX requires that males and females receive fair and equal treatment in all areas of education.

Does Title 7 apply to gender? ›

Title VII includes a broad range of protections. Among other things, under Title VII employers cannot discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation or gender identity with respect to: hiring. firing, furloughs, or reductions in force.

Can schools discriminate based on gender? ›

Education Code Section 221.5 specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex with regard to enrollment in classes or courses, career counseling and availability of physical education activities or sports to both sexes.

Does Title IX require schools to spend equally on male and female sports True False? ›

Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play; Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and.

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