Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ Into Law
By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Save Women’s Sports Act into law Thursday, a day after the state filed its 50th lawsuit against the Biden administration over its proposed rule changes to Title IX.
“It’s a very important day in the state of Texas,” Abbott said at a bill signing ceremony at the Capitol.
The Texas legislature passed the bill to support biological females in collegiate sports because “women’s sports are being threatened,” the governor said. “Some women are being forced to play against biological men. Women’s college athletic teams are being threatened.
“Collegiate records that women set are being threatened. Women’s sports, women’s records, women’s teams, women’s dressing rooms all are jeopardized when men are allowed to compete for those teams, for those titles, for those records.”
The Save Women’s Sports Act prohibits men from competing on a team or as an individual against women in college sports. It’s similar to bills that already passed in other states like Montana.
“The fact of the matter is, women have thrived under college sports,” Abbott said, listing examples of skills and accomplishments women have gained through athletic competition.
Because of the new law, he said, “The legacy of women’s sports will be safeguarded for generations to come.”
A day prior, the Office of the Texas Attorney General filed its 50th lawsuit against the Biden Administration, this time over changes it’s making to Title IX, a federal law that helped make women’s sports and other legal protections for women possible.
Texas sued U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division.
The lawsuit challenges the administration’s attempt to change Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, arguing its plan would force all K-12 schools, and colleges and universities to abide by the new new rules or potentially lose federal funds.
Title IX states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Biden administration changes include redefining biological sex to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” and equating “sex” with “gender identity” or “transgender status.”
Those who’d be considered to be in violation of it could include teachers who don’t force students to use “preferred pronouns” that don’t correlate to biological sex, school policies that enforce separate bathroom facilities for biological males and females and policies that prohibit biological men from competing in female sports.
The Biden administration has said the new rules are need to prevent discrimination against transgender students.
“Under this doctrine, Texas schools would be investigated by the federal government for following Texas law, including Chapter 33 of the Education Code protecting the integrity of school athletics participation on the basis of biological sex,” the AG’s office explains.
The DOJ and DOE also issued guidance fact sheets with a “Dear Educator Letter” it sent out, which Texas argues violates the Administrative Procedures Act.
“Texas is challenging this blatant attempt to misuse federal regulatory power to force K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in our state to accept and implement ‘transgender’ ideology – in violation of state law – by misusing the Title IX statute to threaten the withholding of federal education funds,” the AG’s office said. The Biden administration’s “unlawful guidance could put at risk over $6 billion in federal funding that supports Texas K-12 and higher education institutions,” it notes.
The lawsuit alleges the DOJ and DOE are exceeding their statutory authority and violating federal law and rulemaking procedure. The lawsuit asks the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting the administration from enforcing any changes to Title IX.
The lawsuit was filed after 15 attorneys general called on the DOE to halt its plan last year. They also asked that Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhamon of the DEO’s Office of Civil Rights recuse herself from the rulemaking process. She was involved in a five-year battle over regulatory changes to Title IX that were resolved under the Trump administration in 2020.
Lhamon argued changing Title IX would ensure “that schools are providing students with educational environments free from discrimination in the form of sexual harassment.” She also said, “grievance procedures [would be implemented] that provide for the fair, prompt, and equitable resolution of reports of sexual harassment and other sex discrimination.” The AGs argue Title IX already includes those protections.
“Title IX’s crucial purposes is to protect athletic opportunities for women and girls,” the AGs argued. “Adding gender identity to the definition of ‘sex’ in Title IX would have a detrimental effect on the great strides made over the last 50 years to create equal athletic opportunity,” for women and girls, they argued.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.