A Red State Revolt to Biden’s Title IX Rule Changes Is Brewing

Florida joined Louisiana and South Carolina Wednesday in vowing not to comply with President Biden’s Title IX rule changes.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
A Title IX rally at Lafayette Park near the White House on December 5, 2023. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Florida joined Louisiana and South Carolina Wednesday in vowing not to comply with President Biden’s Title IX rule changes that expand the civil rights law’s definition of sex-based discrimination to include “gender identity” and sexual orientation. Is this the start of a red state revolt?

Florida’s commissioner of education, Manny Diaz, sent a letter to public and charter school superintendents Wednesday vowing that “Florida will fight this.” He called the Biden administration’s changes to Title IX — a 1972 law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding — an “attempt to gaslight the country into believing that biological sex no longer has any meaning.”

“At Ron DeSantis’s direction, no educational institution should begin implementing any changes,” Mr. Diaz advises.

The Biden administration’s Department of Education issued its final set of changes to Title IX last week, broadening the law’s scope — originally to protect women — to now include protections for transgender persons. The law primarily governs how schools allocate resources for athletics and how schools handle sexual misconduct complaints. The new rules will go into effect August 1.

Louisiana’s Department of Education chief, Cade Brumley, is also instructing schools in his state to ignore the Biden administration’s new rules. “The Title IX rule changes recklessly endanger students and seek to dismantle opportunities for females,” Mr. Brumley wrote in a letter to school Monday.

South Carolina’s top education official told schools Tuesday to ignore the Biden Title IX changes. “This is not fairness: it is fiat,” she wrote.

The Biden administration’s Title IX changes redefine sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based on “sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” The new rules also strip many of the due process protections for students accused of sexual assault that were instituted during the Trump administration under Secretary DeVos.

Moms for Liberty, the parental rights organization and lightning rod group on culture war issues, sent an open letter to the National Governors Association Wednesday urging states to fight the Title IX changes with legal action.

“Starting on August 1, 2024, Title IX will no longer protect our children. Instead, it will deprive them of educational opportunities, free speech rights, and at times put them in physical danger,” the letter says. “This should be particularly alarming to 19 states who have some sort of parental rights laws on their books.”

Moms for Liberty is targeting red state governors. The Sun reached out to the attorneys general of Texas and Idaho — two red states that have passed parental rights bills and bans on transgender participation in women’s sports — to see if they are planning legal action, but did not hear back by time of publication. Which state will be next?

More than 20 states have passed legislation barring transgender participation in women’s sports. Title IX could become a big campaign culture war issue in the fall. 

Mr. Biden campaigned in 2020 on putting a “quick end” to the Trump administration’s Title IX rules, which he said gave “colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their rights.” He said protecting LGBTQ youth would be a priority.

The Biden administration has delayed releasing its Title IX changes regarding transgender participation in athletics. This delay is likely for political reasons, as it is an election year and polling shows a majority of Americans think sports teams should be designated based on sex at birth, not gender identity. Critics of the Biden changes say they will force schools to allow transgender students to use women’s locker rooms, bathrooms, and other private spaces.

“This regulation is an assault on women and girls,” Ms. DeVos posted to X. “It makes it a federal requirement that boys be allowed in girls bathrooms in elementary schools. It makes it a federal requirement that men be allowed to play women’s sports, putting their safety, privacy and competitive opportunity at risk. And it makes it a federal requirement that feelings, not facts, dictate how Title IX is enforced.”

The red state revolt will likely ramp up in the coming weeks. The Independent Women’s Forum law center is vowing to sue the Biden administration over these changes. A religious freedom law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom, also says it will sue.

“Under these rule changes, privacy, safety, parental rights, free speech, and—yes—women’s sports are at risk. This is an abuse of federal power that is anti-women, anti-science, and anti-logic,” Alliance Defending Freedom’s president, Kristen Waggoner, posted to X. “See you in court, POTUS.”

The New York Sun

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