Florida and Oklahoma Slam Biden: Is His Latest Title IX Policy Even Legal?

Respiro / shutterstock.com
Respiro / shutterstock.com

Florida and Oklahoma are putting their foot down against the Biden administration’s proposed Title IX tweaks, basically telling them, “Not on our watch!” They’re not buying into the idea of letting folks who identify as female waltz into traditionally female spaces or dominate in female-only sports leagues.

Both states have directed their educational institutions to reject the new rules. These changes, advocated by the Biden administration, would grant individuals identifying as female access to traditionally female-exclusive spaces, such as locker rooms and sororities, and participation in female-only sports leagues.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, not mincing words, emphasized the state’s refusal to comply, stating, “We are not going to let Joe Biden try to inject men into women’s activities.” DeSantis said that his state would not be complying.

This sentiment was echoed by Manny Diaz Jr., Florida’s Commissioner on Education, who asserted that no educational institution in the state should adopt the Biden administration’s revisions to Title IX. Diaz criticized the federal government’s reinterpretation of the law, characterizing it as an attempt to diminish the significance of biological sex.

Similarly, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters issued a directive urging school superintendents in the state to refrain from enacting policy changes based on the new Title IX regulations. Walters argued that these regulations are both illegal and unconstitutional, citing violations of the First Amendment, the Administrative Procedures Act, and established civil rights protections for women and girls.

In addition to their resistance, both states are taking legislative steps to uphold their positions. Earlier this week, the Oklahoma House passed the Women’s Bill of Rights (HB 1449), aiming to ensure that all statutory references to women are based on biological sex.

HB 1449 was amended by the Oklahoma Senate; the bill must be voted again by the House before it can reach Gov. Kevin Stitt for signature. The legislation underscores the ongoing debate surrounding gender identity and biological sex.

Florida is preparing to release guidance on implementing Title IX in line with the state’s educational goals.

Five other Republican-led states have filed lawsuits against the Biden administration’s new Title IX rules. These rules expand a federal civil rights law that protects students from sex-based discrimination in federally-funded schools to now also protect transgender students.

Texas AG Ken Paxton has taken action by suing the Biden administration to prevent the implementation of new rules. Paxton believes that these rules are not in the best interest of Texas and that they demand “compliance with radical gender ideology.”

According to Paxon, Texas will refuse to let Joe Biden rewrite Title IX on a whim, jeopardizing women’s legal protections to satisfy his radical fixation on gender ideology. Paxon believes the attempt to bypass federal law is clearly unlawful, undemocratic, and disconnected from reality. He said that Texas remains steadfast in its commitment to push back against Biden’s extreme and harmful policies that endanger women.

Republican attorneys general from Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho lodged a distinct lawsuit early this week, contending that the rule surpasses the Education Department’s jurisdiction, notably by redefining sex to encompass gender identity.

Louisiana AG Liz Murril emphasized that the initiative is driven by a political agenda and disregards substantial safety concerns for female students in various educational settings across Louisiana and the nation.

Many states have enacted legislation specifically targeting transgender students. Over recent years, half of the states have implemented measures preventing transgender students from participating in school sports teams corresponding with their gender identities, while ten states have barred transgender school staff and students from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identities in K-12 schools.

The new Title IX rules clearly state that schools must safeguard LGBTQ students from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The new guidance marked a reversal of the Trump administration’s policy, which had rescinded Obama-era guidance directing schools to permit transgender students to use facilities aligning with their gender identities.

The new guidance does not address trans students’ participation in school sports. However, Paxton and Walters mentioned that issue in their statements.