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Louisiana sues Biden over Title IX rules that protect LGBTQ students from discrimination

By Greg Hillburn

Louisiana is suing President Joe Biden to block new U.S. Department of Education rules issued that include protections for LGBTQ students by clarifying that Title IX forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Republican Attorney General Liz Murrill was joined by GOP Gov. Jeff Landry, state Department of Education Superintendent Cade Brumley and others during a press conference in the state Captiol announcing the lawsuit filed Monday in Louisiana's U.S. Western District Court in Monroe.

Opponents of the new Title IX rules believe they could supplant state laws like bathroom bans and other policies increasingly being enacted in Republican-led states like Louisiana.

Murrill said the new rules are attempting to "remake American societal norms" in bathrooms and lockerrooms.

She said the new rules also transform traditional Title IX protections for "biological women" to compete in sports. "It destroys decades of advancements for women and girls," Murrill said, calling the rules "an affront to the dignity of families, and it's not legal."

Landry said the rules show the Biden administration "has lost its moral compass."

"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.

Louisiana is joined in the lawsuit by attorneys general in Idaho, Mississippi and Montana.

A separate rule that could prohibit schools from banning transgender athletes from competing on teams in accordance with their gender identity has not been finalized but is expected to be soon. Louisiana passed a law in 2022 that bans transgender athletes from competing on girls and women's sports teams.

Last week Brumley sent a letter to state school systems advising leaders to ignore the new Title IX rules.

"These new rules have been in development for nearly two years, and I have previously submitted comments in staunch opposition as it alters the long-standing definition that has created fairness and equal access to opportunity for women and men," Brumley wrote on April 22. "At this time, my opposition to these new Title IX rules remains unchanged. The Title IX rule changes recklessly endanger students and seek to dismantle equal opportunities for females."

Brumley reiterated his position, telling school systems: "Do not comply."

"This is a line-in-the-sand issue," Brumley said. "This is a bridge too far."

But LGBTQ advocates called the lawsuit an "assault" on children.

“We should all be enraged by the relentless assault on LGBTQ+ children orchestrated by Louisiana Republicans.," said SarahJane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality. "Gov. Landry, Attorney General Murrill and Superintendent Brumley have a callous disregard for the well-being and dignity of these vulnerable young individuals.

"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."

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty has been assigned the case.

Doughty, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2017 and confirmed in 2018, has a history of issuing high-profile rulings against the Biden administration, some of which have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is considering a case now in which Doughty ruled that the Biden administration unconstitutionally suppressed free speech by colluding with social media platforms during the COVID pandemic.

He previously overturned two COVID vaccine mandates for federal healthcare and Head Start workers and a ban on oil and gas drilling.

Written by Greg Hillburn for the Shreveport Times.


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