Opinion: Republican Attorneys General Attack President Biden’s Anti-discrimination Policies As Unlawful

It is evident that even when the Supreme Court upholds anti-discrimination laws Republicans will do anything in their power to attack and ignore them and continue their discriminatory ways, especially if their motivation is pandering to the extremist evangelical cult.

About three weeks ago 21 Republican state attorneys general signed on to a letter condemning and challenging President Joe Biden’s decision regarding discrimination against LGBTQ+ students and employees.

The President was justified in his decision on many fronts, none less than the 14th Amendment’s equal treatment clause, but primarily due to the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in the landmark Bostock v. Clayton County case. That decision upheld Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that protects LGBTQ people from  discrimination.

On day one of his administration President Biden issued an executive order stating that all federal agencies must adhere to the SCOTUS ruling to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The President also ordered all agencies to “apply the ruling” across all areas of federal policy to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in “public housing, healthcare and schools.”

The gist of the Republicans’ letter is that President Biden’s executive orders are unlawful because Republicans cannot comport the idea that all Americans deserve equal rights..

It was the President’s inclusion of protecting LGBTQ people in schools that lit up the Republicans, and because they serve the interests of bigots in the fanatical evangelical cult, they were going to challenge President Biden’s order as unlawful.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) regarded the President’s executive order  as “the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States President.

The truth of the matter is that there was really no need for either Title VII, the Civil Rights Act, or a Supreme Court ruling extending equality to the LGBTQ community if Republicans and religious bigots regarded the 14th Amendment as the law of the land. Like everything surrounding the concept of all Americans equal rights, giving equal protection under the law to all Americans without a fight is anathema to Republicans.

To ensure that bigots in Republican states did not ignore the executive order, the President “specifically issued guidance to schools” to remind them that Title IX protects LGBTQ  students against discrimination based on the Bostock ruling. Last month, the Biden Administration expanded on that “guidance” in a “Notice of Interpretation” and other documentation provided to the nation’s schools.

The letter from the Republican attorneys general primarily focused on their hatred for transgender people and asserted that President Biden’s “guidance” to schools improperly extends Bostock protections to the wrong kind of Americans. They wrote, in part:

Bostock holds that an employer cannot fire a man who identifies as a woman if the employer would not fire a similarly situated woman who identifies as a woman. A significantly different balance of interest distinguishes a man identifying as a woman from a man showering with women coworkers.”

Of particular angst for the bigoted Republicans was guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that investigates workplace discrimination. The Republicans just didn’t like the suggestion that the purposeful misuse of pronouns was harassment; they claim that prohibiting a bigot from deliberately using an incorrect pronoun would violate free speech.

Likely, that informed their claim that the Bostock ruling as applied in the EEOC was a violation of an employer’s religious liberty to flout anti-discrimination laws with impunity. It is noteworthy that President Biden’s “guidance acknowledges that religious organizations are exempt from anti-discrimination laws in some circumstances.” Still, Republicans were dissatisfied.

The reality is that the 21 signatories to the letter challenging equality for all students will not go far regarding any hopes the bigots have of overturning President Biden’s executive order. State attorney generals have no authority to overrule a President’s executive order or a Supreme Court ruling.

However, those Republicans almost certainly were pandering to their religious right base by attacking LGBTQ people with a special emphasis on the easiest target, transgender kids; something they have been hard at work doing over the past year.

The past year has seen a record number of anti-trans legislation and includes everything from banning transgender girls from playing sports to barring “transgender youth access to gender-affirming medical care.” Anything to deny every American “equal protection under the law” and anything to sate the bigoted hate endemic to fanatical evangelicals.