A Tennessee judge has temporarily barred two federal agencies from enforcing guidelines issued by President Joe Biden’s administration that expanded protections for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces.
U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr., in an order Friday, ruled for the 20 state attorneys general who sued last August, saying the Biden administration’s guidelines violate states’ right to pass laws which, for example, prevent students from participating in sports based on their gender identity or require schools and businesses to provide bathrooms and showers to accommodate transgender people.
Atchley, appointed by President Donald Trump in 2020, accepted the attorneys general’s argument and issued a temporary injunction that stops agencies from enforcing these LGBTQ discrimination guidelines until the case can be resolved by courts.
“As demonstrated above, the harm alleged by the Plaintiff States is already occurring – their sovereign power to enforce their own legal code is fettered by the publication of the Defendants’ Guidelines and they face substantial pressure to change their laws of ‘State accordingly,’ Atchley wrote. .
Attorneys General hail from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi , Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Sexual orientation discrimination guidelines were released by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June following a landmark rights ruling Supreme Court of the United States in 2020 which, under a provision called Title VII, protects gay, lesbian, and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.
June 2021 Department of Education guidelines said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity would be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects against discrimination. sex in education.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidance that month on what might constitute discrimination against LGBTQ people and advised the public on how to file a complaint.
With her guidance, the Biden administration has in part taken a stand against laws and proposals in a growing number of states that seek to ban transgender girls from competing on women’s sports teams. State attorneys general argue that authority over these policies “properly rests with Congress, the states, and the people.”
The education policy provided for the possibility of federal sanctions against schools and colleges that fail to protect gay and transgender students.
The attorneys general argued that delaying a legal review of the guidelines “would cause them significant hardship because defendants would be allowed to use ‘fear of future sanctions’ to force ‘immediate compliance’ with the challenged guidelines,” Atchley wrote.
“The Court finds that the plaintiffs have shown a credible threat of execution,” Atchley wrote. “Plaintiffs point out that private litigants rely on counsel from defendants to challenge plaintiffs’ state laws.”
Atchley noted that the U.S. Department of Education filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit in West Virginia taking a position that Title IX prohibits the state from excluding transgender girls from participating in non-sports. Mixed girls only.