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Abbott says Texas will ignore ‘illegal’ Biden Title IX revisions

The Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) issued a new Title IX rule that includes changes to how federal civil rights law protects “discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.”

A key provision in the rule change now “Recognizes that preventing a person from participating in a recipient’s education program or activity consistent with their gender identity subjects that person to more than de minimis harm.”

The Human Rights Campaign said the new rule will “protect LGBTQ+ students” in addition to reversing “Trump-era changes to Title IX that limited federal funded educational institutions’ obligation to address sexual harassment and assault and clarifies protections for pregnant and parenting students.”

“For more than 50 years, Title IX has promised an equal opportunity to learn and thrive in our nation's schools free from sex discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming, and respect their rights.”

Title IX is a federal program that instructs educational institutions that receive federal funds from the DOE to carry out their educational programs “in a nondiscriminatory manner free of discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity.” Included in the issue areas of Title IX are athletics, financial assistance programs, admissions, recruitment, and sex-based harassment investigations.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a letter Monday to President Biden, saying, “Texas will not adhere to the new rules.”

“I am instructing the Texas Education Agency to ignore your illegal dictate.”

Following the Title IX rule changes, Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) penned a letter to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath.

“As Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, I am calling on you to promptly direct all superintendents in Texas to ignore the proposed changes to Title IX,” wrote Cain.

“Additionally, I am calling on all Texas superintendents to publicly commit to disregarding this directive from the Biden Administration.”

The Texas Freedom Caucus followed with its own letter to Morath expressing similar concerns, stating they “urge” him to “instruct all Texas superintendents to disregard these proposed alterations.”

Other state governors and education chiefs in Florida, Louisiana, Montana, and South Carolina have issued similar disregard directives.

Attorney General Ken Paxton has also sued the Biden administration and the DOE over the Title IX rule change.

“Texas will not allow Joe Biden to rewrite Title IX at whim, destroying legal protections for women in furtherance of his radical obsession with gender ideology,” wrote Paxton in a press release.

“This attempt to subvert federal law is plainly illegal, undemocratic, and divorced from reality. Texas will always take the lead to oppose Biden’s extremist, destructive policies that put women at risk.”

The complaint argues the DOE “has attempted to effect radical social change in our Nation’s schools” and that the new Title IX rule “walks back many of the constitutional safeguards issued by the Trump Administration to ensure that students accused of harassment have access to a fair hearing.”

America First Legal (AFL) is serving as co-counsel in Paxton’s suit against the Biden Administration.

“This rule violates existing federal law, ignores the Constitution, and denies women the protections that Title IX was intended to afford them,” AFL stated in a press release. “The Biden Administration has exceeded its authority and radically distorted the meaning intended by Congress when the law was made.”

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