A federal judge in the state of Louisiana has blocked the enforcement of a new rule from President Joe Biden’s administration that protects LGBTQ+ students from discrimination based on their gender identity in schools and colleges across four states.

U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Education from implementing the rule in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho.

These Republican-led states argued that the rule would require schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identities. Judge Doughty, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, stated that the changes would undermine the original purpose of Title IX, which he argued is to protect biological females from discrimination.


The ruling marks the first instance of a judge blocking the rule, which has been challenged in nine lawsuits by Republican-led states and conservative activists. They contend that the rule represents an unlawful reinterpretation by the Biden administration of Title IX, a law intended to protect women from discrimination in education.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen celebrated the decision, calling it “a big win for women’s rights” and stating that it would protect young women and girls from dangerous situations as Title IX has done for decades.

A spokesperson for the Education Department said the department is reviewing the ruling but stands by the rule, which is set to take effect on August 1. The department emphasised that the final Title IX regulations were crafted following a rigorous process to uphold the law’s statutory guarantee.

The Education Department issued the rule in April, clarifying that the prohibition against sex-based discrimination in schools and colleges receiving federal funding under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This clarification follows a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision that determined a ban against sex discrimination in the workplace under Title VII covers gay and transgender workers.

Courts often rely on interpretations of Title VII when analysing Title IX, as both laws bar discrimination based on sex. However, Judge Doughty sided with the Republican state attorneys general, finding the rule “inconsistent with the text, structure, and purpose of Title IX.” He asserted that the rule would compel schools to use students’ preferred pronouns and allow access to bathrooms and locker rooms based on gender identity, issues he deemed the agency lacked authority to address.

Doughty also argued that the rule violated the U.S. Constitution’s Spending Clause by imposing ambiguous conditions and infringing on other constitutional provisions, including the First Amendment’s protections for free speech and the free exercise of religion.