OKLAHOMA CITY- Attorney General John O’Connor joined 21 other state attorneys general in a lawsuit filed today against the Biden Administration’s new guidance on sex discrimination for schools and programs that receive federal nutritional assistance. The lawsuit names the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The National School Lunch Program services nearly 30 million school children each day, many who rely on it for breakfast, lunch, or both. Approximately 100,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential childcare institutions receive federal funding to provide subsidized free or reduced-price meals for qualifying children.
“The Biden Administration wants to force every State to adopt its radical agenda, and to punish those financially who do not comply,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “The guidance threatens to take away those children’s meals unless the local schools adopt a pro-transgender agenda. This is just another example of Biden bullying Americans by attacking our children.”
On May 5, 2022, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services issued guidance to Oklahoma and other States announcing that discrimination on the basis of sex in Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act includes discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. This put Oklahoma’s Title IX and SNAP school lunch funding at risk.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys general argue the USDA’s Guidance is unlawful because:
- It was issued without providing the State and other stakeholders the opportunity for input as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
- The USDA premised its Guidance on an obvious misreading and misapplication of the Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County.
- The Guidance imposes new and unlawful regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal financial assistance from the USDA. This will inevitably result in regulatory chaos that threatens essential nutritional services to some of the most vulnerable citizens.
Joining Attorney General O’Connor in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of the following States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.