Louisiana to sue over new Title IX regulations affecting LGBTQ+ students

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana announced its intention to sue the Biden administration over new Title IX regulations affecting LGBTQ+ students, Governor Jeff Landry and Attorney General Liz Murrill announced Monday. The state will join Idaho, Mississippi and Montana in their legal fight.

Louisiana was among the first states to publicly oppose the newly released federal guidelines by the Biden administration, which are slated to take effect on August 1st. These new rules allow students, specifically LGBTQ students, to seek Title IX protections when they believe they have faced discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. There are also protections for pregnant students.

“Make no mistake, these rules eviscerate Title IX,” Murrill said. “This is all for a political agenda, ignoring significant safety concerns for young women students in pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across Louisiana and the entire country. These schools now have to change the way they behave and the way they speak, and whether they can have private spaces for little girls or women. It is enormously invasive, and it is much more than a suggestion; it is a mandate that well exceeds their statutory authority.”

LGBTQ groups have criticized the state’s lawsuit saying that recognizing the humanity of gay students, especially trans students, in Louisiana is a paramount issue.

“We should all be enraged by the relentless assault on LGBTQ+ children orchestrated by Louisiana Republicans. Gov. Landry, Attorney General Murrill and Superintendent Brumley have a callous disregard for the well-being and dignity of these vulnerable young individuals,” said SarahJane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality. “They must be reminded that these are not just policies they’re attacking; they’re attacking human beings – our children – who deserve love, respect, and acceptance. It’s time for us to act on the harm they’re causing and recognize the humanity they’ve carelessly neglected.”

Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s superintendent of education, expressed in a letter to school system leaders last week that the Title IX changes “recklessly endanger students and seek to dismantle equal opportunities for females.” He urged schools not to comply with the “radical” rules sent down by the Department of Education.

Murrill said that the regulations prohibit single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms, aiming to “remake American societal norms” by allowing boys and girls of the opposite sex to use the same facilities. While the Title IX changes establish clear regulations on sexual harassment and discrimination, the new policy becomes murky when it intersects with local or state laws concerning students who feel discriminated against based on the bathrooms or locker rooms they use.

Additionally, the change does not address transgender athletes, an issue the Education Department is working on separately. Louisiana passed a law in 2022 that bans transgender athletes from competing on girls and women’s sports teams.

FACT SHEET: U.S. Department of Education’s 2024 Title IX Final Rule Overview

“We’re not going to pretend there is some other kind of sexual category other than the two the great almighty has set forth,” Landry said.

Enacted in 1972, Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools, covering areas such as admissions, classrooms, and safeguarding students against sexual harassment. It also mandates equal opportunities for women and men to participate in sports.

The Biden administration has been advocating to clarify changes to Title IX implemented under President Donald Trump, especially following a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that broadened the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Furthermore, the federal government has the authority to revoke federal funding for schools that fail to adhere to Title IX regulations.

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