An attempt by two federal agencies to impose radical gender ideology on the nation’s employers and healthcare providers has been rebuffed by a federal judge in Texas, in response to a lawsuit brought by the State of Texas.
In 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) each issued “guidance” documents purporting to interpret existing law – namely the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County – to require employers and healthcare providers to treat “transgendered” individuals in accordance with their self-proclaimed gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
The effect of the guidance for employers would have been to allow transgender employees to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, force employers to use “preferred pronouns” of such employees, and allow them to dress as the opposite sex if they so choose. For healthcare providers, it meant they could not turn down surgeries and medical procedures related to gender dysphoria.
The latter requirement was especially impactful on Texas, which had declared “sex-change” surgeries on minors to be child abuse and punishable as such.
According to the ruling issued on October 1 by U.S. District Judge Matthew K. Kacsmaryk, the EEOC and HHS both misread the Bostock ruling, and violated all sorts of procedural requirements for issuing the guidance documents in the first instance. The judge imposed the ultimate sanction.
“The Court DECLARES the Guidances unlawful and VACATES and SETS ASIDE the Guidances,” Kacsmaryk wrote.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who brought the lawsuit against the federal government, celebrated the win.
“The court’s decision is not only a win for the rule of law, but for the safety and protection of Texas children,” Attorney General Paxton said in a press release. “The Biden Administration’s attempts to radicalize federal law to track its woke political beliefs are beyond dangerous. I will continue to push back against these unlawful attempts to use federal agencies to normalize extremist positions that put millions of Texans at risk.”
Texas Values, a Focus on the Family-affiliated state public policy organization, likewise applauded the ruling.
“The Biden Administration’s attempts to coerce woke gender ideology on Texas employees and Texas children failed once again,” Jonathan Saenz, attorney and President for Texas Values said in a statement. “In its eagerness to mandate extreme political views, the federal government is becoming famous for misreading and misapplying the law. We are grateful for this legal victory, and will continue working to protect Texas kids.”
While other plaintiffs have previously filed lawsuits against the administration and won victories and exemptions from the onerous gender identity mandates, this is the first decision that entirely eliminates the guidances, as if they never existed.
Every employer and healthcare provider in the country will be the beneficiary of that ruling, unless it is overturned on appeal.
There’s been no word yet whether the administration intends to appeal the Texas ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but some kind of appeal appears inevitable.
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