The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Joint Governmental Working Committee of Congress, Unilaterally orders state universities to suspend policies that put LGBTQ students in protected classes in a federal lawsuit.
In a letter to Brian Noland, president of East Tennessee State University, Rep. John Reagan said a federal court had ordered the U.S. Department of Education to implement guidance from the Biden administration, so Tennessee colleges and universities could I have notified the university of possible violations. State law if guidelines are followed.
An Oakridge Republican told the president of East Tennessee that “your institution is responsible for any publication that states or implies that LGBTQI+ students are a protected class under Title IX.” We advise you to immediately cancel and/or delete your articles, policies, and website entries.
Noland has been asked to notify Ragan’s office about completing the “necessary actions” by September 2nd.
ETSU spokeswoman Jess Vodden said Monday that the university’s legal team is reviewing the letter and has not yet responded.
State law requires universities to submit policy changes to the Joint Government Steering Committee by July 1 of each year. Ragan’s letter asks the university to submit a policy change, but also asks it to withdraw its policy on federal guidance.
Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group, acknowledged on Monday that Biden’s rule was temporarily put on hold, but noted that Ragan does not have the authority to “micromanage” the university. did.
“It’s not his job for Rep. Ragan to tell one of our public universities what to do. His job is to make state law,” Sanders said. “It’s no surprise he holds that view. He makes it clear in the legislation. We know he’s biased against his LGBT community.”
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slaeterry has also filed a lawsuit in federal court in East Tennessee, leading a group of state attorneys general nationwide to rescind federal guidance.
East Tennessee U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley said in late July that federal guidance restricting transgender athletics and the use of restrooms that match a student’s gender identity would “continue to enforce state law for plaintiffs.” Directly interfere with and threaten the state’s capacity,” the order reportedly issued.
With Slattery’s involvement, Sanders may be trying to gain support among legislators, fending off legislation designed to make the position of Attorney General a legislative appointment rather than the Tennessee Supreme Court. Slattery is set to step down and will be replaced by Jonathan Scumeti on Thursday.
In the letter, Ragan said the federal government had “advised” universities that LGBTQ students may receive protection or withdraw funding under Title 9 of the federal law. increase. The guidance forced universities to adopt new policies in haste, Ragan argues.
However, a federal court ruled that the U.S. Department of Education could not enforce its guidance, so the Tennessee colleges could not be penalized for ignoring the letter, and unless a superior court lifted the injunction, they would not be allowed to do so. The situation continues, says Ragan’s letter. .
“As a result, no college or university publication, policy or website has any legal authority or requirement to state or imply that LGBTQI+ is a protected class under Title IX. The changes related to the June 23, 2021 letter from the Department are not appropriate.In fact, based on the court’s ruling, such conduct could be construed as violating state law.” Ragan’s letter states:
Rep. Vincent Dixie, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, lashed out at Ragan’s letter.
It’s not his job for Congressman Reagan to tell one of our public universities what to do. His job is to make state laws. It’s not surprising that he holds that view. He makes that clear in his legislation. I know he is prejudiced against his LGBT community.
– Chris Sanders, Tennessee Equality Project
“For some reason, I think it’s ridiculous that Reagan has a personal vendetta against the LGBTQ community,” Dixie said. “…if the federal government says this is a given and this is the law of the country, we must comply. Tennessee is not our country. We are states within the United States.”
Dixie pointed out that even though the federal court has suspended the rules, the case has not been resolved and it is too early to write to the university.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office declined to comment on Monday. hastily ignored procedural requirements and issued an “interpretation” of the federal antidiscrimination law that went well beyond statutory text and regulation. Requirements, Case Laws, and Constitutional Permits. ”
The state said the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which the Biden administration cited to make its order, said the court decided to fire an employee “simply for being gay or transgender.” It was a “narrow decision” on the point. constitutes discrimination “on the basis of sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It alleges that the federal government misinterpreted Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include sexual orientation or gender identity. “Explicitly authorize gender segregation based on biological sex. …”
The application alleges that the Department of Education mixed that misinterpretation by issuing further guidance in a “fact sheet” that likewise ignores the plain text of Title IX. If you prevent a student from joining an athletic team or using a student’s gender-identified restroom, or if a student’s peers refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns, the Department of Education warned that it could launch an investigation. I’m here. ”