21 State Attorneys General Challenge Biden Admin Directives Threatening Religious Liberty

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Nearly two dozen state attorneys general have issued a letter to President Joe Biden challenging his administration’s interpretation of a Supreme Court case from last year which addressed how federal regulation protecting against “sex” discrimination could be applied and subsequent directives which they say are at odds with First Amendment protections.

The letter was spearheaded by Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and co-signed by 21 other attorneys general, such as those serving in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia as per The Christian Post.

The attorneys general began by explaining to President Biden that as he was likely aware, those appointed to their offices play “a critical role in preserving federalism and the balance of power among the states and the federal government.”

The Biden administration has been quick to issue guidance to the states which many warn violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.

The attorneys general accuse the federal government of weaponizing a narrow Supreme Court ruling regarding sex discrimination to target individuals whose deeply-held, First Amendment-protected beliefs do not suit their agenda for gender and sexuality.

Recent issuances by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to the states “threaten to impose unlawful regulatory guidance upon nearly every employer and educational facility in our states and throughout the country,” the officials write.

The ruling in question, Bostock v. Clayton County, addressed whether federal Title VII protections against employment discrimination on the basis of “sex” could be applied to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” an issue which raises serious red flags in the religious freedom community over concerns that organizations and businesses would be restricted from making hiring decisions in accordance with their beliefs.

The attorneys general charge that the Biden administration are applying a ruling that only “narrowly addressed employment termination and explicitly refrained from addressing ‘sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes.’”

Meanwhile, the AG’s contend that, “Bostock did not provide any basis for a claim that using biologically accurate pronouns could violate the law. To the contrary, the First Amendment protects the right to ascribe pronouns to others based on their sex.”

The EEOC’s guidance appears to be “an effort to leverage the authority of the federal government to chill protected speech disfavored by your administration,” they write, as well as “appears to ignore two of three protections provided to religious employers, acknowledging the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) but nothing else.”

“Bostock recognized that three religious liberty protections limit its scope: RFRA, Title VII’s express statutory exception for religious organizations, and the First Amendment’s protections of ‘the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers,’” they explain.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education’s “Notice of Interpretation” guidance which was issued in June “fares no better” in its interpretation of Title IX protections and is “substantively flawed” as the high court “expressly limited its decision in Bostock to Title VII.”

“The Court emphasized that Title IX and ‘other federal or state laws that prohibit sex discrimination’ were not ‘before’ the Court and the Court did ‘not prejudge any such question’ under those statutes.”

The Biden administration has emphasized its commitment to policies that favor the LGBT community in a time when the boundary between nondiscrimination policies and religious freedom sorely needs clear defining from the high court.

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