Federal Transgender Title IX Rule Blocked Again – Even Judges Say ‘Not So Fast, Biden’

angellodeco / shutterstock.com
angellodeco / shutterstock.com

The Biden administration’s controversial Title IX transgender rule has hit another roadblock. A federal judge issued an order temporarily pausing the rule in six states. The new regulation, which redefines “sex” to include “gender identity,” has sparked widespread outrage for allowing biological males who identify as female to access girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves minced no words in his memorandum, clearly stating, “There are two sexes: male and female.” His June 17 ruling from the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Covington Division, highlights the Department of Education’s (DOE) overreach. Judge Reeves’ order grants a preliminary injunction, blocking the rule’s enforcement in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Similar blocks have been issued in at least five other states.

Judge Reeves concluded that the DOE had overstepped its statutory authority with these new rules, acting in a manner that was “arbitrary and capricious.” This judgment echoes the sentiments of many who see the DOE’s April 19 announcement as an overreach. This final rule extends the decades-old Title IX law, originally designed to prevent sex discrimination in schools, to cover now “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

The new rules, scheduled to go into effect on August 1, would permit males identifying as females to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms, join female-only organizations, and require educators to use preferred pronouns. Schools refusing to comply face losing essential federal funding and potential lawsuits.

The DOE’s approach has ignited controversy and a flurry of lawsuits. Judge Reeves emphasized that the Department had failed to adequately address significant concerns about the risks posed by the new rule to student and faculty safety. He pointed out the severe implications for free speech, particularly for educators who might be forced to use pronouns that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs.

“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,” Judge Reeves wrote. He highlighted the pervasive nature of pronoun usage, suggesting that educators would be compelled to conform to students’ preferred pronouns, regardless of their convictions.

In response to the ruling, a DOE spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the decision is under review. They asserted that Title IX is designed to ensure no one faces sex discrimination in federally funded educational environments and that the new regulations were crafted following a rigorous process.

“We are reviewing the ruling,” the spokesperson said. “Title IX guarantees that no person experiences sex discrimination in a federally funded educational environment. The Department stands by the final Title IX regulations released in April 2024, and we will continue to fight for every student.”

On the other side of the aisle, Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman praised the ruling. “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.

This Kentucky case is just one of at least seven lawsuits backed by more than 20 GOP-led states opposing the Title IX rule. Recently, a Texas judge blocked the new rule’s enforcement in Texas. In contrast, a judge in Louisiana halted its enforcement in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho.

President Joe Biden’s executive order on March 8, 2021, formally tasked the DOE with amending Title IX to add protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Department finalized these changes in April, broadening the definition of sex discrimination and sex-based harassment.

As the Biden administration pushes forward with its agenda, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the fight over Title IX is far from over. The court’s recent decision reflects the broader national debate over the boundaries of gender identity policies in education. The administration may continue to fight for its vision. Still, it faces a determined opposition that is equally committed to preserving traditional definitions of sex and protecting free speech and religious freedoms.