Twenty states led by Tennessee on
Monday filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its
guidance in support of transgender rights.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert
Slatery filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.
Slatery argues that the U.S. Department
of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
do not have the authority to issue the guidance.
Soon after he took office, President
Joe Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies to
implement the Supreme Court's ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County.
The high court found in the case that anti-LGBT workplace
discrimination is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. The ruling broadened the definition of sex discrimination to
include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
The Department of Education issued
guidance in support of allowing transgender students access to team
sports and bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The EEOC
also instructed employers on bathrooms.
“This case is about two federal
agencies changing law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative,”
said in a statement. “The agencies simply do not have that
authority. But that has not stopped them from trying.”
“The guidance purports to resolve
highly controversial and localized issues such as whether employers
and schools may maintain sex-separated showers and locker rooms,
whether schools must allow biological males to compete on female
athletic teams, and whether individuals may be compelled to use
another person’s preferred pronouns,” the lawsuit states. “But
the agencies have no authority to resolve those sensitive questions,
let alone to do so by executive fiat without providing any
opportunity for public participation.”
The states are calling on the court to
invalidate the guidance.
States involved in the lawsuit also
include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana,
Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,
Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West
Virginia. All of the states have Republican attorneys general.