Tennessee’s Attorney General (AG), Herbert Slatery III, along with 20 other Republican Attorneys General, drafted a letter to President Biden titled “Administrative Action Relief to Bostock v. Clayton County.” The document was written in response to Biden’s Executive Order to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, which makes it so that laws like Title IX, the Immigration and Nationality Act and Fair Housing Act serve LGBTQ Americans as well.
The attorney generals who co-signed Slatery’s letter included those from Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia and several other states. These representatives all claim that the actions taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) are attempting to regulate businesses, schools and public accommodations with Biden’s Executive Order.
These Attorneys General believe that, by being forced to use a person’s preferred pronouns, they will be deprived of freedom of speech. Their letter touches on pronouns that are neither feminine nor masculine such as xe/xem and ve/ver, claiming that “nothing about Bostock’s reasoning suggests that an employer would violate [Title VII Protections Against Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity, NVTA 2021-1,] by refusing to adopt an employee’s nontraditional pronouns.”
These pronouns, however nontraditional, would likely have to be recognized under Biden’s Executive Order 13988.
The letter implies that the employer’s rights should be placed before the employee’s. This is reflected in the mention of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), in which Slatery claims that those who do not qualify for religious exemption from this Executive Order will have had their First Amendment religious liberty violated.
Veering into athletic school activities, the AG letter references Tennessee’s new law (Senate Bill 228) regarding youth participation in sports. Tennessee was the third state to incorporate a version of the Save Women’s Sports Act into their legislation. Slatery mentions this in the letter, writing, “ED’s interpretation undermines rather than interprets Title IX: schools cannot “provide equal athletic opportunity for members of both sexes” if ED functionally forbids them from acknowledging that there are, in fact, two biologically distinct sexes.”
The purpose of this letter, as stated by the 21 Attorneys General, is to open a discussion of Executive Order 13988 so that it may better serve the Republican party. The party’s primary goal is to have President Biden edit the Order to the point it will no longer protect all LGBTQ individuals.
Should the AG letter be seriously considered by President Biden, Executive Order 13988 may become less of an LGBTQ anti-discrimination law and more of an excuse for homophobic and transphobic discrimination.
To read the full letter, go to bit.ly/3wCELrb.
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