BIRMINGHAM — Attorney General Steve Marshall joined State Rep. Susan DuBose (R-Hoover) and Matt Sharp with the Alliance Defending Freedom at a town hall in Birmingham to discuss legislative and judicial efforts to oppose the Biden administration's proposed changes to Title IX.

Monday's talk was the first of several scheduled events across the state hosted by Moms for Liberty-Alabama and LOCAL Alabama, two groups sounding the alarm about the new rule's adverse effects on women-only spaces.

In April, the U.S. Department of Education announced an update to the Title IX code, the sweeping name given to civil rights legislation prohibiting sex-based education discrimination. The changes, which are set to go into effect in August, add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of federally protected groups.

Opponents say it would abolish the distinction between male and female sports and do away with female-only spaces like locker rooms and bathrooms. The rule would also add refusing to use a person's preferred name and pronouns to the definition of sex-based harassment.

Monday's town hall was held at the North Shelby Library, and roughly 100 people attended. While most seemed supportive of the speakers, some wore trans-supportive clothing and spent the evening making disruptive outbursts and offering unsolicited commentary.

First to the microphone was DuBose, who has made protecting women-only spaces a priority since being elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2022. DuBose has already passed legislation in 2023 barring collegiate athletes from competing on sports teams for the opposite sex. This year, she nearly passed a bill to codify definitions of male and female in Alabama law, but it fell short due to gambling gridlock in the legislature. DuBose vowed to pursue the same legislation in the 2025 session and similar bills on the same subject during her talk.

Susan DuBose. Alabama News
Photo: Craig Monger.

"Can you believe it now? It is actually an act of courage to say that sex is fixed and that there are only two sexes, male and female, that gender identity is not the same as sex, there is a difference between a male and a female and is determined at birth and created by God," DuBose said.

She continued, "We have had over 50 years of progress with Title IX that the Biden administration wants to eliminate by redefining sex to include gender identity. By claiming that Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, the Biden administration's re-write will try to force schools to let men who identify as women take women's scholarships and invade women's private spaces, including athletic teams, locker rooms and single-sex dorms." 

Marshall took the podium next to discuss the state's ongoing litigation against the Biden administration challenging the proposed rules, citing data showing that over 60% of Americans object to the change. Marshall and 25 other state attorneys general and private parties are trying to get a preliminary injunction before the rules go into effect on August 1.

Steven Marshall Alabama News
Photo: Craig Monger.

RELATED: AG Marshall leads lawsuit against Biden's Title IX changes — 'I expect the rule to be struck down swiftly'

The language of Title IX explicitly prohibits institutions from denying any education-related opportunities based on sex or else risk federal funding. In its suit, Alabama accused the Biden administration of attempting to smuggle definitions into the Title IX code that did not exist at its formation. Marshall said the concept of gender identity was not introduced into the Title IX discussion until the Department of Education under former President Barack Obama attempted to apply it as such in 2014 and 106, both of which were struck down.  

"Y'all, at the time that bill was passed in 1972, nobody disputed the fact that 'sex' meant biological sex as God created you; that was not even on the table," Marshall continued. "Nobody disputed which bathroom that you were going to go to; it was defined by your biological sex. So when we talk about the issue that we are litigating now, let's make it clear: neither Republicans or Democrats alike in 1972 had any confusion about what the word 'sex' meant, but yet we find that we're now having to litigate that again today. This was not an issue for almost 40 years when Title IX came about, and it was only until the Obama administration that we suddenly see a change in perspective."

"We cannot lose sight of the fact that the way that you change the law is to go to Congress and have them enact an amendment to a statute to be able to do what the proponent wants to do. On multiple occasions, those that advocate for including gender identity within the definition of sex have gone back to Congress. And do you know the result? They failed. Which not only sends the clear signal that Congress didn't believe it was appropriate, it also shows that they didn't believe that the original definition of sex, when this was adopted in 1972, included that concept," Marshall continued.

Marshall contended that the proposed Title IX changes would render existing Alabama law protecting female-only spaces null and void, thwarting the will of the state's duly elected legislature. It would also fly in the face of Congress, which has already rejected Biden's proposal at the federal level.

Both Marshall and DuBose criticized the state's acceptance of federal funding, which is the only weapon the federal government has to enforce edicts not approved by Congress.

"That's the problem with federal funding, right? It's like you sell your soul to the devil because now they try to control you," DuBose said. "And these federal dollars, y'all, are massive."

"This is an example of how the federal government can control activity at the federal level through the use of the purse strings," Marshall stated. "Because the only vehicle for these changes to take place is if, in fact, you are receiving federal funding. Absent that, it is clear the federal government has no authority to be able to dictate these policies at the state level."

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