AP

US agencies temporarily barred from enforcing LGBTQ guidance

Jul 15, 2022, 9:04 PM | Updated: Jul 16, 2022, 9:55 am

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2019, photo, supporters of LGBTQ rights stage a protest on the street in fro...

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2019, photo, supporters of LGBTQ rights stage a protest on the street in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. A judge in Tennessee on Friday, July 15, 2022, has temporarily barred two federal agencies from enforcing directives issued by President Joe Biden's administration that extended protections for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A judge in Tennessee has temporarily barred two federal agencies from enforcing directives issued by President Joe Biden’s administration that extended protections for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces.

U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. in an order on Friday ruled for the 20 state attorneys general who sued last August claiming the Biden administration directives infringe on states’ right to enact laws that, for example, prevent students from participating in sports based on their gender identity or requiring schools and businesses to provide bathrooms and showers to accommodate transgender people.

Atchley, appointed by President Donald Trump in 2020, agreed with the attorneys generals’ argument and issued a temporary injunction that prevents the agencies from applying that guidance on LGBTQ discrimination until the matter can be resolved by courts.

“As demonstrated above, the harm alleged by Plaintiff States is already occurring — their sovereign power to enforce their own legal code is hampered by the issuance of Defendants’ guidance and they face substantial pressure to change their state laws as a result,” Atchley wrote.

The attorneys general are from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The directives regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation was issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June following a landmark civil rights decision by U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 that, under a provision called Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

The Department of Education guidance from June 2021 said discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity would be treated as a violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that protects sex discrimination in education.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidance that month about what could constitute discrimination against LGBTQ people and advised the public about how to file a complaint.

With its guidance, the Biden administration in part took a stand against laws and proposals in a growing number of states that aim to forbid transgender girls from participating on female sports teams. The state attorneys general contend that the authority over such policies “properly belongs to Congress, the States, and the people.”

The education policy carried the possibility of federal sanctions against schools and colleges that fail to protect gay and transgender students.

The attorneys general argued that a delaying a legal review of the directives would “cause them significant hardship, as Defendants would be allowed to use the ‘fear of future sanctions’ to force ‘immediate compliance’ with the challenged guidance,” Atchley wrote.

“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have shown a credible threat of enforcement,” Atchley wrote. “Plaintiffs highlight that private litigants are relying on Defendants’ guidance to challenge Plaintiffs’ state laws.”

Atchley noted that the U.S. Department of Education has filed a statement of interest in a West Virginia lawsuit taking a position that Title IX prohibits the state from excluding transgender girls from participating in single-sex sports restricted to girls.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One as he arrives Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tues...

Associated Press

Biden makes a case for his legacy — and for Harris to continue it — in his Oval Office address

Biden made a case for his legacy on Wednesday night when he delivered an Oval Office address about his decision to bow out of the race.

19 hours ago

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

10 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

10 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

10 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

11 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

11 days ago

US agencies temporarily barred from enforcing LGBTQ guidance