The U.S. Department of Education issued a statement on Wednesday, June 16, stating that it would interpret Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The move appears to align with a decision that the Supreme Court handed down a year ago in Bostock v. Clayton County. In that case, the Court ruled that Title IX – which bans discrimination on the basis of sex – also applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination — and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections,” a statement from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona reads. “I’m proud to have directed the Office for Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect all students from all forms of sex discrimination.”
The department’s policy change reverses course on policy established during the Trump Administration. Now, any educational institution in the U.S. that receives federal funding is on notice that the Education Department is ready to enforce Title IX to protect LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff at school.
A considerable question is how the policy would affect Title IX exemptions granted to faith-based universities and colleges, which often claim to have religious tenants that necessitate some forms of sex-based discrimination.
One example involves student housing for married couples that would only be available to heterosexual couples. Another example might concern how transgender students are treated at institutions that provide different activities and educational opportunities for either sex.
How scenarios such as these might be handled when the Education Department’s new stance on Title IX takes full effect remains to be seen, but rest assured that legal assistance is out there to help those accused of Title IX violations.
Get in touch with Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC today by contacting us online or by calling (737) 200-2332.