LGBT activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall in New York City, on October 24, 2018. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
A federal judge temporarily blocked the Education Department’s Title IX guidance, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Eastern District of Tennessee Judge Charles Atchley in an order late Friday said the agency’s guidance “directly interferes with and threatens Plaintiff States’ ability to continue enforcing their state laws” that restrict transgender people from playing on sports teams and using bathrooms that match their gender identity.
A coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general is being led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery. They have argued their states face a “credible threat” of losing significant federal funding due to their policies and laws.
The states also argued that forcing schools to use transgender students’ pronouns is illegal under the First Amendment and that the Education Department violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Tenth Amendment, which delegates certain powers to the states.
The Education Department, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Justice Department, along with their leaders, are listed as defendants. They had urged the court to dismiss the lawsuit, which Atchley denied.
“As it currently stands, plaintiffs must choose between the threat of legal consequences — enforcement action, civil penalties, and the withholding of federal funding — or altering their state laws to ensure compliance with the guidance and avoid such adverse action,” wrote Atchley, …