Gordon Announces Wyoming Joining Lawsuit Over Biden's Title XI Rule Changes

Gov. Mark Gordon announced on Tuesday that Wyoming will be suing President Joe Biden’s administration over its new Title IX rules. Secretary of State Chuck Gray said it's about time.

Leo Wolfson

May 14, 20245 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Wyoming is joining 25 other states in suing President Joe Biden’s administration for its newly proposed Title IX rules. 

Although never specifically stated, the new rules may prevent bans on transgender women participating in female sports. This is the focus of the complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, which was filed in Kansas federal court on Tuesday. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Wyoming is joining Kansas, Alaska and Utah in their legal filing against the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. It’s the seventh suit filed so far against the new rules that were released in April.

“Wyoming will fight the Biden Administration’s attempt to rewrite Title IX,” Gordon said in a press release. “The state adamantly upholds its core principles of fairness, privacy and the sanctity of women’s sports, opposing any imposition of ambiguous standards that threaten these ideals. This is yet another instance of federal overreach, seeking to impose a new interpretation on a longstanding law.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder also worked on the filing and issued support for it on Tuesday.

“In Wyoming, we protect our girls,” Degenfelder said. “We will never allow outrageous political agendas to get in the way of that. Not in bathrooms, not in education, not in sports. Period.”

 In 2023, the Wyoming Legislature passed a law banning biological males from participating in girls’ public interscholastic sports in grades 7-12.

About Time

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Chuck Gray sharply criticized Gordon for not filing a lawsuit sooner.

“I’m glad that the governor, attorney general, and superintendent finally got this done after we started pointing out that they hadn’t taken action,” he said. “This was a long time coming and took way too long to get done, but I’m glad it finally got done.”

Gray also wants Attorney General Bridget Hill to have Wyoming join a 22-state coalition challenging the World Health Organization’s jurisdiction in their respective states.

Don't Infringe

Proponents of the rules say they establish transgender rights and do nothing to infringe on women’s rights in their new focus on gender identity rather than biological sex.

"For more than 50 years, Title IX has promised an equal opportunity to learn and thrive in our nation's schools free from sex discrimination,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in an announcement of the rules.

Cardrona is a listed defendant in the new lawsuit. "These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming and respect their rights.”

The new federal rules officially add "gender identity" to the list of protections from sex-based discrimination for the first time. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex at any institution that receives federal funding.

The lawsuit expresses great skepticism about the concepts of gender identity and transgenderism.

Currently, public schools in America are not liable for discrimination under Title IX unless the school has actual notice of the discrimination. Now, a school could be held liable for discrimination if it knows it has male-only and female-only restrooms and also if it does not know if any person inside the school is transgender.

The Lawsuit

The 1,085-page lawsuit argues that the new rules run contrary to the core principles of Title IX by requiring females to compete against, and share locker rooms and bathrooms with transgender females, who were born as biological males. Title IX is a law that was designed to create equal educational and athletic opportunities, particularly for female students.

Biden’s rules expand the interpretation of harassment and discrimination to include those made based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which would thus include transgender people and possibly pertain to their participation in athletics. They also include heightened requirements for responding to discrimination as well as sexual misconduct.

The states argue that the new rules “institutionalize the left-wing fad of transgender ideology” in K-12 public schools by attaching school funding to it. The rules condition federal money for elementary, high school and colleges based on these institution’s adherence.

They also argue that they mandate colleges and universities to punish students who refuse to comply with the rules through a campus grievance process akin to “kangaroo courts,” and claim the rules require schools to provide benefits to students and employees seeking voluntary abortions, in direct conflict with Title IX’s abortion neutrality provision.

“None of this has anything to do with Title IX,” the complaint reads.

Female Athletes United (FAU), a nonprofit organization that’s opposed to transgender female participation in female sports, is another plaintiff. Within this group, as mentioned in the complaint, is a 15-year old Powell student who competes on her high school’s junior varsity team. 

According to the complaint, this student is uncomfortable with using female spaces with transgender people. In addition, she only believes in the existence of two sexes and is opposed to calling transgender people by their preferred pronouns.

“None of the FAU members identified above would feel comfortable using the women’s restrooms at their schools with a male or using the girls’ locker room with a male, or showering with a male nearby, or sharing the same hotel room or bed with a male during an overnight trip,” the complaint reads. “Doing any of this would make these members feel embarrassed, humiliated, unsafe, exposed, and vulnerable."

Moms For Liberty and Young America’s Foundation are also plaintiffs in the case, which both have chapters in Wyoming.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter