Eighteen Republican attorneys general have vowed to fight President Biden’s proposed Title IX overhaul, arguing that it would demolish protections for women by adding gender identity to the anti-discrimination law.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who led the Thursday letter with Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, said that the left’s portrayal of the proposed changes is “dishonest and inaccurate.”
“Biden’s proposals are far more radical than simply redefining, revising or updating Title IX,” Mr. Rokita said. “To the contrary, he wants to positively destroy Title IX and the progress it represents for girls and women across the United States.”
Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments prohibits sex discrimination in any scholastic program that receives federal funding, but the administration proposed Thursday redefining “sex” to include “sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.”
The proposed regulations threaten to place the Biden administration on a collision course with the 18 states that have passed laws barring biological males from participating in female sports, a controversial issue as transgender athletes seek to compete based on gender identity.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stressed that the department would initiate a separate rulemaking on how Title IX applies to athletics, but the attorneys general said the damage would already be done by redefining “sex.”
“Your proposed rule merely pretends to reserve the issue of biological males participating in women’s sports for a separate rulemaking. This wolf comes as wolf: defining the term ‘sex’ to include gender identity will destroy women’s sports,” said the letter to Mr. Cardona.
“Because the Biden Administration’s attempt to change the focus and meaning of Title IX is an attack on the rights of girls and women and will make them less safe and cause them to lose vital opportunities, we will fight your proposed changes to Title IX with every available tool in our arsenal,” they said.
The Title IX revision is intended to “strengthen protections for LGBTQI+ students who face discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Education Department said.
Polls show that most Americans oppose allowing male-born athletes who identify as female to compete against women.
A June 6 YouGov survey for Stop Abusive and Violent Environments [SAVE] found that 63% of adults supported keeping the “traditional biological definition” of sex, while 37% favored expanding it to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“SAVE’s national survey found 71% of Americans oppose the participation of transgenders in women’s sports,” said SAVE chairman Edward Bartlett. “The Biden Administration needs to respect the will of the people, follow the science, and revoke its plan to redefine sex.”
The proposed changes include rolling back the Trump-era protections for students in sexual-assault cases on campus.
The attorneys general said that the 2020 rulemaking spearheaded by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “guarantees victims and accused students strong, clear, procedural rights in a predictable, transparent process designed to reach reliable outcomes.”
“Beyond the gender identity issue, the Department has failed to offer sufficient justification as to why the Title IX regulations require revision,” the attorneys general wrote. “Your newly proposed rule guts the historic 2020 Rule. And it does so for no reason other than some apparent need to pander to your far-left constituencies.”
Assistant Education Secretary Catherine E. Lhamon said the proposed regulations are intended to ensure that “school procedures for addressing complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other forms of sex-based harassment, are clear, effective, and fair to all involved.”
The other attorneys general on the letter are from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
The proposed regulations are subject to a 60-day comment period after publication in the Federal Register. A final rule is expected to follow months later.