Republican Attorneys General Challenge Federal Regulation on Transgender Student Rights

Republican Attorneys General Challenge Federal Regulation on Transgender Student Rights

Several Republican state attorneys general are challenging a federal regulation aimed at protecting the rights of transgender students in schools. The regulation seeks to prevent blanket policies that bar transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender, among other provisions.

Republican Attorneys General Challenge Federal Regulation on Transgender Student Rights

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill criticized the new policies, calling them federal government overreach. “This is federal government overreach, but it’s of a degree and dimension like no other,” Murrill said in a news conference.

One lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Monroe, Louisiana, on Monday, the same day the Education Department’s regulations on how to enforce Title IX were officially finalized. The top state government lawyers for Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Montana are seeking to delay the regulations’ effective date, currently set for August 1.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, along with four advocacy organizations, filed a suit in federal court in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Monday. Texas also filed a similar suit in federal court in Amarillo. Indiana is joining a lawsuit to be filed in Tennessee. Tennessee’s attorney general’s office stated they are leading a multi-state suit to be filed.

Filing in multiple federal courts increases the likelihood that one of them will put the rule on hold nationally.

The regulation could invalidate several state laws adopted in recent years and preempt some under consideration by state lawmakers, including in Louisiana. It applies to all schools receiving federal funding.

The states argue that the rule prohibits single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms, forces school officials and students to use pronouns associated with a student’s claimed ‘gender identity,’ and could negatively impact female sports.

The regulation opposes policies allowing transgender individuals to use school bathrooms that align with their gender, a practice already in place in at least 11 states, including Alabama.

President Joe Biden’s administration had planned to announce a policy forbidding schools from enacting outright bans on transgender girls in girls’ sports but did not include it as part of the regulation.

The regulation is also unclear regarding laws protecting students and/or teachers from discipline if they use the wrong pronouns for transgender or binary students, an issue in at least four states.

Conservative states challenging the regulation is not surprising, as attorneys general often sue over federal administrative actions, especially from presidents of the opposite party.

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