Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Biden administration over its new guidance that effectively withholds federal nutritional assistance from American schools and schoolchildren for failing to embrace the White House’s radical new gender ideology.
According to the new guidance, schools would risk forfeiting lunch money for their neediest students if they engage in “sex discrimination,” such as having sex-separated bathrooms or sports teams for boys and girls.
“Joe Biden and his administration are obsessed with imposing their extremist sexual politics on the people of our great nation, adults and children alike,” Marshall said in a statement. “Their latest plan—which comes at a time of skyrocketing inflation and food costs, as well as a looming recession—is to hold schoolchildren’s food hostage unless their schools submit to the left’s radical ‘gender identity’ agenda. This immoral and illegal scheme cannot stand. That is why I, along with 21 of my attorney general colleagues, have filed suit in federal court to block it.”
On May 5, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance to Alabama and other states announcing that discrimination on the basis of sex in Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act would now be interpreted to include discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Under this interpretation, Alabama’s Title IX and SNAP school lunch funding would be at risk if a school determines that a boy cannot compete on the girls’ swim team or refuses to allow boys into the girls’ locker room.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys general argue that the USDA’s guidance is unlawful because it conflicts with the requirements of Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act and was issued without providing the state and other stakeholders the opportunity for input, as required by the Administrative Procedures Act.
The attorneys general argue that the USDA premised its guidance on an obvious misreading and misapplication of the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County. The guidance imposes new and unlawful regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal financial assistance from the USDA and thus threatens essential nutritional services for Alabama’s most vulnerable children.
The National School Lunch Program services nearly 30 million schoolchildren each day, many of whom rely on it for breakfast, lunch or both. Approximately 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions receive federal funding to provide subsidized free or reduced-price meals for qualifying children.
Marshall was joined in the suit by attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia in filing the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee on Tuesday.
The attorneys general lawsuit can be read here.
President Joe Biden has vowed to defend LGBTQI individuals from state discrimination by state and local governments and has signed an executive order to that effect.
“Our Nation has made great strides in fulfilling the fundamental promises of freedom and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, owing to the leadership of generations of LGBTQI+ individuals," stated Biden. "In spite of this historic progress, LGBTQI+ individuals and families still face systemic discrimination and barriers to full participation in our Nation’s economic and civic life. These disparities and barriers can be the greatest for transgender people and LGBTQI+ people of color. Today, unrelenting political and legislative attacks at the State level — on LGBTQI+ children and families in particular — threaten the civil rights gains of the last half-century and put LGBTQI+ people at risk. These attacks defy our American values of liberty and dignity, corrode our democracy, and threaten basic personal safety. They echo the criminalization that LGBTQI+ people continue to face in some 70 countries around the world. The Federal Government must defend the rights and safety of LGBTQI+ individuals.”
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