Republicans have never been accused of embracing people from all walks of life regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexuality, or country of origin, but over the last year they have significantly and systematically ramped up their attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. From attempting to ban trans girls from participating in sports to voting against a bill protecting same-sex marriages rights, from blocking gender-affirming care—and having parents investigated for child abuse over it—to hysteria over the mere mention of the word gay, making life miserable for LGBTQ+ people is basically now an official plank of the Republican Party platform. Which is why it’s not at all surprising—though thoroughly revolting nevertheless!—to learn that nearly two dozen GOP states have sued the federal government, demanding the right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ kids.
Specifically, on Tuesday, attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia filed a lawsuit, led by Tennessee attorney general Herbert Slatery, over the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcing in May that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation will now be considered a violation of Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” As part of that announcement, the USDA said that state and local agencies that receive federal funding, which includes schools participating in the national school-lunch program, must update their policies and signage and investigate allegations of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And that was apparently just a bridge too far for these GOP A.G.s.
“This case is, yet again, about a federal agency trying to change law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative,” Slatery said in a statement. “The USDA simply does not have that authority. We have successfully challenged the Biden administration’s other attempts to rewrite law and we will challenge this as well.”
Republicans—including those on the Supreme Court—have made it abundantly clear that they want to strip the federal government of the power to govern. So this lawsuit fits in nicely with that goal. But it’s also clearly a two-for-one for these attorneys general, as it also aligns with the right’s anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
Responding to the bizarre charge by Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts’s claim that the Biden administration is “attack[ing]” Title IX by saying its protections extend to trans kids, the ACLU of Nebraska wrote: