U.S. District Court in Covington blocks Biden administration’s effort to change Title IX rules

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A federal court in Covington has pressed pause on the Biden administration’s effort to rewrite Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for students in education and athletics.

New rules written by the Department of Education attempted to redefine protections based on sex to include discrimination based on “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” “sex stereotypes,” and “sex characteristics” which, critics say, would eventually cripple women’s sports.

If allowed to take effect, the Biden administration rule would have required K-12 schools, colleges and universities to allow males identifying as females access to women’s sports, bathrooms and locker rooms.

Lawmakers listen as parents speak about the prospect of their children competing against biological boys identifying as girls in school sports at the Utah State Capitol on March 25, 2022, in Salt Lake City. A federal judge on Monday, June 17, 2024 temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to rewrite Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for students in education and athletics. (Kentucky Today file Photo by Samuel Metz, AP)

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 15-year-old female West Virginia middle school student and Christian Educators International, an association of teachers. The student was forced to compete against a male athlete on her track-and-field team. The male displaced her several times, even taking away her spot to compete in a conference championship. The male athlete was also given access to the girls’ locker room, where the girl said she endured vulgar, sexual comments that the athlete directed at her.

Six states, including Kentucky, joined the suit, State of Tennessee v. Cardona.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Monday, blocked the rule from going into effect while the case moves forward.

Chief Judge Danny Reeves wrote in the decision, “Nonetheless, despite society’s enduring recognition of biological differences between the sexes, as well as an individual’s basic right to bodily privacy, the Final Rule mandates 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. This result is not only impossible to square with Title IX but with the broader guarantee of education protection for all students.”

KBC Executive Director Todd Gray applauded the court’s decision.

“Kentucky Baptists have spoken clearly against any attempt to undermine God’s created order. Women and girls deserve to be protected from having their most private spaces invaded by biological males,” said Gray. “Also, Christians in the public schools, including teachers, should not fear being punished for expressing their firmly held convictions regarding biblical sexuality. We pray that the courts will ultimately overturn this attempt to deny the distinction between male and female.”

“As a parent and as Attorney General, I joined this effort to protect our women and girls from harm,” said Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman.

“Today’s ruling recognized the 50-plus years of educational opportunities Title IX has created for students and athletes. We’re grateful for the court’s ruling, and we will continue to fight the Biden Administration’s attempts to rip away protections to advance its political agenda.”

“Kentucky must continue to push back against these politicized efforts to infuse radical gender ideology into law,” said David Walls of the Family Foundation of Kentucky. “This attempt to erase women and cancel biological truth will ultimately fail.”

On Thursday, a federal district court in Louisiana issued the first preliminary injunction against the Biden administration in another ADF case, Rapides Parish School Board v. United States Department of Education. This prior injunction covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho. The new injunction from the Kentucky district court covers the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia.

“The Biden administration’s radical redefinition of ‘sex’ will upend the equal opportunities that women and girls have enjoyed for 50 years under Title IX and will threaten their safety and privacy at every level,” said ADF Senior Counsel Hal Frampton, who argued before the court.

“The court was right to halt the administration’s illegal efforts to rewrite Title IX while this critical lawsuit continues. Our female athlete client has already suffered the humiliation and indignity of being harassed by a male student in the locker room and on her sports team. No one else should have to go through that. We are pleased the court ruled to uphold safety and privacy while this lawsuit continues.”

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