Arkansas Gov. Sanders Issues Executive Order Defying Biden Admin’s Title IX Rule

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
May 3, 2024Politics
Arkansas Gov. Sanders Issues Executive Order Defying Biden Admin’s Title IX Rule
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks after taking the oath of office in Little Rock, Ark., on Jan. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued an executive order on Thursday directing state schools to defy the Biden administration’s expansion of Title IX protections to include students identifying as transgender.

The Republican governor’s order, signed on Thursday, asserts the state’s commitment to preserving the traditional understanding of sex as an “immutable characteristic of the human body” firmly “rooted in biology and the created order.”

“The government should celebrate, not erase, sex differences by providing proper protections for them,” the order reads. It also states that the Biden administration “has rejected reality and chosen to appease their left-wing base over students’ safety and best interests.”

The order comes in response to the Biden administration’s recent redefinition of “sex” under Title IX to include “gender identity,” a move viewed by Ms. Sanders as a departure from the law’s original intent.

“The Biden administration is attempting to unilaterally rewrite federal law to advance its radical gender ideology against women and girls,” reads the order by Ms. Sanders, who once served as press secretary during the Trump administration.

Ms. Sanders said in her order that the new rule’s expanded definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity was “plainly ridiculous.” She said it would “lead to males unfairly competing in women’s sports; receiving access to women’s and girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms, and private spaces; and competing for women’s scholarships.”

The reinterpretation of Title IX by the Biden administration, outlined in a document spanning nearly 460,000 words, has also drawn criticism from a slate of GOP attorneys general, who have filed lawsuits challenging it.

Ms. Sanders notes in her order that, compared to the lengthy re-write, the original Title IX “contained a succinct 37 words” when it was signed into law in 1972.

Title IX is a landmark 1972 civil rights law that aims to eliminate discrimination based on sex in federally funded educational programs and to provide equal opportunities for women. The new rule, which redefines “sex” to include gender identity, was announced on April 19. Schools and colleges that fail to comply with this new rule may lose federal funding.

Arkansas lawmakers have passed several laws in the past few years to protect sex-designated restrooms, ensure that students don’t share sleeping quarters with members of the opposite sex, ensure fairness in women’s sports by barring the inclusion of males, and prevent the use of preferred pronouns at public schools and state-supported education institutions.

Under the executive order, Arkansas state schools and colleges are mandated to uphold these state laws.

“The Arkansas Department of Education is ordered to provide specific guidance on how to enforce the rights of Arkansans to equal opportunity, free speech, due process, and privacy under the U.S. Constitution, Title IX, and state law, despite the Biden administration’s unlawful administrative rule,” the order reads. “At no point should Arkansas law be ignored.”

Furthermore, schools were instructed to abide by the 2023 Arkansas law that prohibits public school and state employees from using names or pronouns that do not align with a student’s birth gender without the consent of the parents.

Speaking at the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock on Thursday, Ms. Sanders said she had a clear message for the president’s administration: “We will not comply.”

“If Biden gets his way, female college students will shower and change next to male college students, referring to someone using biologically correct pronouns will get you all in front of a disciplinary board for harassment and scholarships previously reserved for women will now be open to anyone claiming to be a woman,” Ms. Sanders said, according to multiple outlets.

Over a dozen Republican-led states have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that the new Title IX regulations are unlawful.

The Arkansas governor said her state would also sue the Biden administration “for any financial loss, including loss of funding, incurred by the state due to the passage of the Biden administration’s unscientific agendas.”

When contacted by The Epoch Times, a spokesperson for the Education Department said: “Department crafted the final Title IX regulations following a rigorous process to give complete effect to the Title IX statutory guarantee that no person experiences sex discrimination in federally-funded education. As a condition of receiving federal funds, all federally-funded schools are obligated to comply with these final regulations and we look forward to working with school communities all across the country to ensure the Title IX guarantee of nondiscrimination in school is every student’s experience.”

This report was updated with a statement by the Education Department.

From The Epoch Times

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