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Wyoming Sues Biden Administration Over Title IX Rule Changes As Part of Multi-State Coalition

Title IX

After a back-and-forth between the Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Wyoming Secretary of State over why the Cowboy State hasn’t joined other states to sue the Biden Administration over Title IX changes, the Wyoming Department of Education is announcing the state will join the national lawsuit.

According to a media release, the department says, “The State of Wyoming, alongside a coalition of states and private parties, has taken legal action by filing a lawsuit opposing President Biden’s new rules interpreting Title IX. Title IX is a law designed to create educational and athletic opportunities, particularly for female students. The lawsuit argues the new rules are contrary to the core principles of Title IX, compromising safety and privacy, ultimately depriving female athletes of opportunities.”

Last week, Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray made a comment on the lack of response from the state, saying “Where is the Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder here?” Gray questioned according to Cowboy State Daily. “She should be calling for the governor and his appointed attorney general to take action, not just issue press releases.”

Superintendent Megan Degenfelder responded to Gray’s criticism by saying, “I would encourage Secretary Gray to join those of us actually making plays on the field rather than just heckling from the sidelines.”

Back in April, the U.S. Department of Education issued new rules concerning Title IX that will go into effect in August.  The new rules would make the interpretation of harassment and discrimination broader for people based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Even though the new rules don’t explicitly change the rules regarding transgender participation in college athletics, it does affect the overall goal of the law because of the bans on gender identity and sexual discrimination.  In 2023, the Wyoming Legislature passed a law banning biological males from participating in girls’ public interscholastic sports in grades 7-12.

Governor Mark Gordon voiced Wyoming’s firm stance, stating, “Wyoming will fight the Biden Administration’s attempt to rewrite Title IX. 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,” Governor Gordon said. “This is yet another instance of federal overreach, seeking to impose a new interpretation on a longstanding law.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Megan Degenfelder applauded the lawsuit, stating, “In Wyoming, we protect our girls. We will never allow outrageous political agendas to get in the way of that. Not in bathrooms, not in education, not in sports. Period.”

Biden’s new Title IX rule eliminates privacy protections to all students, replaces “sex” with “gender identity” and broadens the definition of what constitutes “discrimination on the basis of sex”, which directly contradicts the very purpose of Title IX.

The lawsuit further alleges the rule violates the First Amendment rights of educators, school employees and fellow students, as well as private organizations, who have sincerely held religious beliefs that would prevent them from complying with the rule. The rule  also raises due processes concerns on college campuses related to sexual harassment accusations.

The coalition is led by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach. The lawsuit also includes the states of Alaska and Utah as well as private parties. A copy of the full complaint may be found here.

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