Nashville – Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III leads a coalition of 26 state attorneys general calling on President Joe Biden to repeal the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s new guidelines on gender discrimination for schools and programs that support federal receive nutritional assistance. The attorneys general say recent guidelines from the USDA impose new — and illegal — regulatory measures on government agencies and operators receiving federal funding from the USDA.
on May 5e2022, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), announced it would extend its interpretation of the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title IX to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity based on a flawed understanding of the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County†
As a result, any state, local agency, or program that receives federal funds through the Food and Nutrition Act and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) — administered by the USDA — must comply with this unlawful application of Bostock and Title IX, or lose federal funding.
“This is yet another attempt by the executive branch and unelected regulators to do what Congress has constitutionally power to do: change the law,” General Slatery said. “They have deliberately misread the Bostock decision to align with their social policy preferences and exclude the people and their elected representatives from the whole process. As Attorney Generals, we cannot sit on the sidelines, and we will not.”
The National School Lunch Program serves nearly 30 million school children a day, many who rely on it for breakfast, lunch, or both. About 100,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential childcare facilities receive federal funding to provide subsidized free or reduced meals to eligible children.
In the letterthe attorneys general say extending the concept of “gender discrimination” to gender identity and sexual orientation does much more than provide direction:
- The Guidance is illegal because it was issued without giving Parliament and other stakeholders the opportunity to contribute, as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
- The Guidance is illegal because the USDA believed it was a clear misreading and misapplication of the Supreme Court’s position in Bostock v. Clayton County. Bostock has expressly rejected the application of “other federal or state laws prohibiting gender discrimination” – such as Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act – and has expressly “not pre-empted such questions.”
- The Guidance imposes new and illegal regulatory measures on government agencies and operators receiving federal funding from the USDA. This will inevitably lead to regulatory chaos that threatens essential food services for some of the most vulnerable citizens.
The letter is signed by Attorneys General of the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.