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Arkansas teen, attorney general, files federal lawsuit over Title IX transgender protections • Missouri Independent

Arkansas teen, attorney general, files federal lawsuit over Title IX transgender protections • Missouri Independent

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin filed a lawsuit Tuesday with five other states, including Missouri, challenging the U.S. Department of Education’s change to Title IX, which codifies protections for LGBTQ students.

The federal rule, announced in April, protects students and employees from sex discrimination, requires schools to provide support to people who file complaints, sets guidelines for schools and codifies protections for transgender students. It is expected to come into effect on August 1.

The 60-page lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleges the Education Department overstepped its authority by rewriting the law. It also claims the rule is unconstitutional by violating the First Amendment, violates decades of understanding of Title IX, making it arbitrary and capricious, and presents “a factual controversy” by redefining “sex” and gender identity to include.

The lawsuit ultimately seeks to halt the federal rule’s effective date.

Although Title IX applies broadly, Griffin’s press conference Tuesday focused largely on transgender students joining girls’ sports teams.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Arkansas Attorney General Nicholas Bronni joined Griffin at the news conference, as did Amelia Ford, a 15-year-old sophomore at Brookland High School near Jonesboro. Amelia and her mother Sara are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, along with Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Amelia, a basketball player, said she worked hard to earn her spot on the team and doesn’t want that opportunity to be taken away from her. She also expressed concerns about the possibility of “a boy who identifies as a girl” being in her bathroom, locker room or hotel room during late-night sports trips.

“You don’t just become a girl because of what you feel or what you think,” Amelia said. “The government should not force us to ignore common sense and reality.”

The lawsuit mentions Ford’s faith several times and states that it would be a violation of her Christian beliefs to refer to someone using pronouns that do not correspond to the person’s biological sex.

Bailey referred to the Title IX rule as being “in favor of a radical transgender ideology,” and Griffin seemed baffled by the idea of ​​such a proposed change.

“For a lawsuit it can’t just be ridiculous, nonsensical, hard to believe or outrageous – there has to be a legal basis,” said Griffin, who also added that he thinks “nationally, a vast majority of people thinks. the whole story is nonsensical.”

When asked if he sees the lawsuit as harmful to transgender students, Griffin said, “No, I see it as following the law.”

Griffin’s lawsuit comes days after Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order directing public schools to follow state law instead of the federal Title IX rule when it takes effect in August.

“My message to Joe Biden and the federal government is that we will not comply,” Sanders said at a news conference.

A number of other states have also filed suit challenging the Title IX rule in their own federal courts, and more are expected.

This story was originally published by the Arkansas Advocate, an affiliate of States Newsroom.