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Tipsheet

Half the Country's Governors Unite to Defend Women's Sports Against Biden's Title IX Rewrite

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Once again, Biden's abdication of strong leadership to protect Americans' way of life at the federal level means state leaders are stepping in to fight for common sense.

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This time, America's governors are responding to the Biden administration's announcement of new Title IX rules that expand the definition of "discrimination" to include "gender identity" in a move which would prevent educational institutions from protecting female athletes and women's sports. Essentially, it would require schools and colleges receiving federal funds from requiring student athletes to play on teams for their biological sex.

So, half of America's governors are banding together to oppose the Biden Department of Education's new proposed Title IX regulations, what they see as "a blatant overreach of the federal government on states' rights."

In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, the governors put forward their formal comment on the proposed regulation that could "prevent states from enforcing our duly-enacted statutes protecting fairness in women’s and girls’ sports. If not withdrawn, we are gravely concerned about the impact that the Department’s wholesale reinvention of Title IX’s terms would have on states’ ability to enforce their laws and policies as written," the state leaders explain. "Indeed, under threat of denying essential school funding, the Department’s proposed regulation would attempt to coerce compliance with an uncertain, fluid, and completely subjective standard that is based on a highly politicized gender ideology." 

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Leaving aside the Department’s utter lack of authority to promulgate such a regulation, neither states nor schools should be subjected to such a fluid and uncertain standard. Nor, most importantly, should the historic advancements and achievements of our sisters, mothers, and daughters be erased.

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of Title IX’s text, and the policy and safety risks posed to women, we request that this proposed regulation be withdrawn and for your Administration to restore the protection of fairness in women’s and girls’ sports.

Rightly, the governors note that "the proposed regulation would turn the purpose of Title IX on its head and threaten the many achievements of women in athletics," explain how the Biden administration's change "lacks foundation in established law" and "includes terms not found in Title IX," as well as "lacks any Congressional authority."

The governors' letter continues:

Undeterred by plain English, the Department invents new categories solely based on a student’s “gender identity”—a term not used in Title IX. This overreaching interpretation exceeds the Department’s Congressionally granted authority. Not only does the Department lack the authority to unilaterally re-write Title IX, such a regulation would disrupt states and schools and eviscerate the lived experience and achievements of generations of courageous women. Indeed, and contrary to the Department’s claim, this regulation will not provide “clarity” but create confusion. The American Psychology Association asserts that “gender identity is internal.” And the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “gender identity can be fluid, shifting in different contexts.” Compelling a subjective, athlete-by-athlete analysis controlled by a student’s self-identified “gender identity” enforced under threat of Department retribution affords no clarity. It does the opposite. This “fluid” subjective standard ensures chaos and confusion in schools and will no doubt result in protracted and disruptive litigation.

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Beyond lacking legal basis or congressional authority, the governors remind the Biden administration that "defending the many hard-fought, athletic achievements over the last half century is far more than a matter of safety for female athletes" because it "also protects essential fairness." 

"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," the governors note. "The scandal of 1970’s and 1980’s East German women athletes pales in comparison to the logical result of this administration’s relentless pursuit of draconian enforcement of its gender ideology."

The letter to Biden's Department of Education was led by Governor Tate Reeves (R-MS), and signed by Governors Kay Ivey (R-AL), Mike Dunleavy (R-AK), Sarah Sanders (R-AR), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Brian Kemp (R-GA), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Brad Little (R-ID), Eric Holcomb (R-IN), Mike Parson (R-MO), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Jim Pillen (R-NE), Doug Burgum (R-ND), Chris Sununu (R-NH), Joe Lombardo (R-NV), Kevin Stitt (R-OK), Henry McMaster (R-SC), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Bill Lee (R-TN), Greg Abbott (R-TX), Spencer Cox (R-UT), Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), Jim Justice (R-WV), and Mark Gordon (R-WY).

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