Twenty Republican-led states are suing the Biden administration to stop the enforcement of what they say is a “regulatory overreach” in federal guidelines that ensure protections for transgender individuals from discrimination at work and in school.
The states are being led by Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III. “This case is about two federal agencies changing law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative,” said Slatery in a statement.
Those two agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S Department of Education, both issued guidance earlier this year saying that it was discriminatory to require transgender individuals to operate in accordance with their biological sex assigned at birth.
“The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and out LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said when his agency issued their guidance.
President Joe Biden signed two executive orders this year to protect LGBTQ individuals against discrimination.
The states say that the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “issued ‘interpretations’ of federal antidiscrimination law far beyond what the statutory text, regulatory requirements, judicial precedent, and the Constitution permit.”
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia are part of the lawsuit.
Gerald Bostock worked for Clayton County, Georgia, for ten years. Bostock filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the county after being criticized for participating in a gay recreational softball league and fired for “conduct unbecoming.”
The Supreme Court determined that the provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlaws sexism applies to discrimination based on a person’s sexual preference and gender identity.
“These agencies also have misconstrued the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision by claiming its prohibition of discrimination applies to locker rooms, showers, and bathroom under Title IX and Title VII and biological men who identify as women competing in women’s sports, when the Supreme Court specifically said it was not deciding those issues in Bostock,” Slatery said.
“All of this, together with the threat of withholding educational funding in the midst of a pandemic, warrants this lawsuit,” he added.
After President Biden signed the executive orders in February, six states introduced bills to prevent transgender students from participating in sports.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the executive order says.
“These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents. Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to sow fear and hate,” the Human Rights Campaign said.
“The lawsuit filed by Tennessee Attorney General Slattery is a contemptible attempt to undermine efforts to protect the most marginalized among us from discrimination,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign.