Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vowed Thursday to protect women’s sports from the Biden administration’s threats to defund lunch programs for schools that do not adopt the president’s interpretation of Title IX policies.
“President Biden is holding lunch money for poor Americans hostage in pursuit of his radical agenda,” Noem said in a statement Thursday morning. “He is insisting that we allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports or else lose funding for SNAP and school lunch programs.”
“South Dakota will continue to defend basic fairness so that our girls can compete and achieve. I would remind President Biden that we have defeated him in litigation before and are ready to do so again,” Noem added, referencing her state’s lawsuit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine mandate, which the Supreme Court struck down in January.
“Mr. President,” the governor warned, “we’ll see you in court.”
South Dakota will stand up to defend freedom. @JoeBiden see you in court.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 9, 2021
Noem’s warning draws on a promise from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) that it will interpret “the prohibition on discrimination based on sex found in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 … to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
This would mean that schools that do not allow biological males in women’s sports, women’s locker rooms, or women’s restrooms would be considered to be discriminating against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA and FNS are issuing this interpretation to help ensure its programs are open, accessible and help promote food and nutrition security, regardless of demographics,” the USDA said.
“This action is in line with President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, and is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Court held that the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the department said in a release.
State and local agencies, as well as program operators and sponsors receiving funds from FNS will be required to “investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation,” the USDA said, and these organizations must update their policies and signage to “include prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a statement that the USDA “is committed to administering all its programs with equity and fairness, and serving those in need with the highest dignity.”
“A key step in advancing these principles is rooting out discrimination in any form – including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Vilsack said. “At the same time, we must recognize the vulnerability of the LGBTQI+ communities and provide them with an avenue to grieve any discrimination they face. We hope that by standing firm against these inequities we will help bring about much-needed change.”
Jay Richards, Director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, told The Daily Wire that Noem ” has this exactly right.”
“Biden told us last November that gender ideology would be a central theme of his administration, and he’s making good on that promise,” Richards said. “States such as Florida, Alabama, and South Dakota are starting to push back against this ideology, as least when it comes to kids.”
Richards noted that many GOP states have begun introducing laws to “reserve girls’ sports for girls.”
“The Biden White House is committed to fighting such states who resist the gender juggernaut,” he said. “The threat from the USDA, to withhold funding for poor public school students in states that don’t surrender, shows just how radical the Biden Administration is on this question. And it’s a terrific opportunity for politicians who claim to defend families and parents’ rights to show their mettle.”
The Daily Wire first obtained a May 31 letter sent by Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in which Tuberville warned the Biden administration that its modifications to Title IX will destroy “opportunities for generations of women and girls at the behest of liberal extremism.”
The senator noted that at least 13 states have enacted legislation banning biological males from women’s sports, warning that the policy reversal would fundamentally affect how women and girls approach athletics going forward.
“It is my understanding that the Department of Education is currently considering a proposed regulation that would modify Title IX implementation to adhere to the progressive priorities of the Biden administration,” Tuberville wrote in the letter.
“Any such weakening of current Title IX protections would amount to a reversal of 50 years of progress for women and girls in sports and an offense to every woman who has ever benefited from the enactment of the law,” he continued. “Title IX has fostered generations of female athletes who would otherwise never have been afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts.”