A federal judge in Tennessee temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing directives that would allow transgender students and workers to use bathrooms and locker rooms and play for sports teams that correspond to their gender identity.
Judge Charles Atchley Jr. of the Eastern District of Tennessee ruled in favor of 20 Republican state attorney generals who sued last August, arguing that the federal directives would make it impossible for states to enforce their own rules about transgender athletes participating in girls’ sports or accessing bathrooms.
Atchley issued the temporary injunction until the matter can be resolved in the courts.
“As demonstrated above, the harm alleged by Plaintiff States is already occurring — their sovereign power to enforce their own legal code is hampered by the issuance of Defendants’ guidance and they face substantial pressure to change their state laws as a result,” Atchley, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, wrote in the decision released Friday.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor called Atchley’s ruling a “major victory for women’s sports and for the privacy and safety of girls and women in their school bathrooms and locker rooms.”
The GOP attorneys general claimed in their suit that the Biden administration’s directives improperly expanded a 2020 Supreme Court ruling extending anti-discrimination protections to transgender workers.
While the justices in Bostock v. Clayton County decided that employers cannot fire workers because of their gender identity or sexuality, they did not weigh in on whether the ruling applied to sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms.
The Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued the directives last year after the high court’s ruling that, under a provision called Title VII, transgender, gay and lesbian people are protected from discrimination in the workplace.
In its guidance, the Department of Education interpreted the ruling as discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity would violate Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
“The Department’s interpretation stems from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, issued one year ago this week, in which the Supreme Court recognized that it is impossible to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity without discriminating against that person based on sex,” the department said.
The attorneys general are from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
With Post wires