Judge bars enforcement of federal LGBTQ protections


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A federal judge in Tennessee last week temporarily barred two federal agencies from enforcing directives that protect LGBTQ people.

The Associated Press reported that on Friday, July 16, U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. ruled for the 20 state attorneys general who sued last August claiming the Biden administration directives infringe on states’ right to enact laws that, prevent students from participating in sports based on their gender identity or requiring schools and businesses to provide bathrooms and showers to accommodate transgender people.

The AP reported that Atchley was appointed by former President Donald Trump. Atchley agreed with the attorneys general and “harm” was already occurring.

The attorneys general are from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the news service.

The order bars the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from enforcing rules issued last year. The Education Department announced last June that it would enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to including sexual orientation and gender identity. The EEOC in June had also announced it would investigate anti-LGBTQ discrimination claims.

The AP reported that the policies were established after a civil rights decision by U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 that, under a provision called Title VII, protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

According to the news service, the attorneys general argued that a delaying a legal review of the directives would “cause them significant hardship, as Defendants would be allowed to use the ‘fear of future sanctions’ to force ‘immediate compliance’ with the challenged guidance.” Atchley agreed.