Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on Aug. 30 filed a multistate lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop the enforcement of what he calls “new, expansive and unlawful interpretations of federal antidiscrimination laws.”
On Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, President Biden signed an executive order called Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. It asked federal agencies to look at policies dealing with discrimination on the basis of gender to also include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Federal guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Education were meant to resolve highly controversial and localized issues — such as whether schools must allow biological males to compete on girls’ sports teams, whether employers and schools may maintain sex-separated showers and locker rooms, and whether individuals may be compelled to use another person’s preferred pronouns, according to a news release from Rokita’s office.
“Hoosier parents rightly expect their children’s schools to follow commonsense rules that reflect their values, such as maintaining separate bathrooms for boys and girls,” Rokita said in a news release. “Using the weight and perceived threat of federal agencies, the Biden administration has sought to circumvent the law and impose a radical leftist ideology on American families nationwide. We can’t let that happen.”
The “extremist” positions advocated by the Biden administration also pose an existential threat to women’s sports, Rokita said.
“Forcing girls to compete against biological males for spots on women’s sports teams robs them of opportunities to participate in athletics,” he said. “Not only that, but forcing girls to play against biological males endangers their very health and safety. What could be more disrespectful toward women than these kinds of policies?”
While the federal agencies claim that the guidance simply implements the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, that decision did not address any of the issues covered by the guidance, Rokita said. “The agencies have no authority to unilaterally resolve these sensitive questions, let alone to do so without providing the public with notice and an opportunity to comment,” according to the news release.
The lawsuit against the Biden administration is led by Tennessee, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee Knoxville Division, and joined by 19 other states, including Ohio.
“This case is about two federal agencies changing law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative,” Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said in the news release. “The agencies simply do not have that authority. But that has not stopped them from trying. Even their attempts, as unlawful as they are, did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act.”
The multistate coalition asks the court to declare the EEOC and Department of Education guidance invalid and unlawful and to prohibit their enforcement.