Half of the nation’s governors are asking the Biden administration to either withdraw or delay a proposed rule aimed at preventing schools from barring biological males from participating in female athletics programs.
Led by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, 25 Republican governors submitted a joint comment on May 11 to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona opposing his department’s proposal to expand Title IX protections against sex discrimination to include discrimination based on gender identity.
“We write to submit a joint comment in opposition to the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed new regulation … and respectfully request that it be withdrawn or delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court can address the questions raised in several pending cases that are challenging this administration’s expanded reading of Title IX,” the governors wrote in their letter, which was first obtained by Fox News.
The proposed regulation, announced by the Department of Education in April, would prohibit schools that receive federal funding from adopting “one-size-fits-all” policies that require all athletes to participate on sports teams consistent with their biological sex.
Instead, individual sports teams would determine their own eligibility criteria based on “educational” objectives such as ensuring fairness in competition or preventing sports-related injuries.
“Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination,” Cardona said in an April 6 statement. “Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages.”
Noting the mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of participation in sports, Cardona said the new rule was meant to “support Title IX’s protection for equal athletics opportunity.”
He added, “We welcome and encourage public comment on the proposed regulation and will continue working to ensure Title IX’s effective protection for all students.”
In recent years, several Republican states have sought to crack down on the intrusion of biological males in female sports by passing their own laws on the matter. Despite Cardona’s assurances of equal protection, in their May 11 comment, the Republican governors said they were “gravely concerned” that the new regulation could not only prevent states from enforcing those laws by threatening to withhold funds, but also undermine the purpose of Title IX.
“This administration apparently sees no irony that its policies validate an average male athlete stealing the recognition from a truly remarkable female athlete whose lifelong athletic discipline and achievements are discarded based on a deliberate misreading of a law whose very purpose was to protect, preserve, and encourage women’s athletics.”
Additionally, the governors warned that the rule lacked both legal foundation and congressional authority, holding that the Education Department was pushing for “sweeping rewrites” of Title IX that would “disrupt states and schools and eviscerate the lived experience and achievements of generations of courageous women.”
Further charging that the rule would “erase” the historic achievements of women, they added, “Because of the Department’s lack of authority, the unambiguous limitations of Title IX’s text, and the policy and safety risks posed to women, we request that this proposed regulation be withdrawn and for your Administration to restore the protection of fairness in women’s and girls’ sports.”
Others who signed on to the letter included the governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
“I’m proud to have led an effort with 24 other Republican governors opposing the Biden Administration’s radical new Title IX rules which would force states to allow biological males to compete in women’s sports,” Reeves commented in a May 12 tweet.
“The Biden Administration is trying to force hardworking female athletes to compete against men,” he added in a subsequent post. “As the dad of three girls who play sports, I’ll continue fighting back for them and all of Mississippi’s daughters!”
Earlier this year, a coalition of more than two dozen organizations, led by the Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies, wrote to Cardona asking that the Education Department abandon its efforts to overhaul Title IX to include protections for gender identity.
“The Department’s view that Title IX extends to gender identity is an extremist position not supported by the purpose, text, structure, or legislative history of Title IX,” said Bob Eitel, president and co-founder of the Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies, in a Feb. 21 statement. “More importantly, if the administration proceeds with its radical re-rewrite of Title IX, it will result in severe harm to biological women and girls and cause them to lose positions on athletic teams, awards, scholarships, and prizes, as well as risk bodily harm in certain sports.”
The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Education for comment.