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Arkansas will sue Biden administration if state is challenged over Title IX

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(The Center Square) – Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Arkansas would sue the Biden administration if it pulls education funding over Title IX.

The governor signed an executive order Thursday that reiterates state laws requiring students to use bathrooms based on their sex at birth and banning transgender males in female sports.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education finalized a rule that includes gender identity and pregnancy in sexual discrimination policies. The rule takes effect on Aug. 1.

Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer who was denied a trophy that went to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, criticized the rule during a press conference with Sanders and Arkansas Education Secretary Jacob Oliva.

“It encourages schools to gaslight and emotionally blackmail women who do not consent to these violations and to compel speech that punishes students who express certain political viewpoints,” Gaines said.

Sanders called the rule a “facially absurd redefinition of sex in Title IX” in her executive order.

“My message to Joe Biden is we will not comply,” Sanders said. “If President Biden threatens our state with loss of education funding because we refuse to go along with his election year pandering, Arkansas will take the federal government to court.”

Sanders also addressed the use of pronouns in the order.

“Students and employees of Arkansas’ educational institutions may not be forced to use false pronouns,” the order said. “The right to refuse to speak a lie is guaranteed in the First Amendment. My administration will continue to protect this fundamental right.”

Gaines is an ambassador of the Independent Women’s Voice, which praised Sanders’ executive order.

“We are living in Orwellian times where leftists say the exact opposite of what they mean, and the media accepts their ‘newspeak’ unquestioningly,” said Jennifer C. Braceras, IWV vice president for legal affairs and founder of Independent Women’s Law Center. “Here, the Biden administration claims that its new Title IX rule enforces the landmark law that prohibits sex discrimination. In fact, the new rule violates Title IX by discriminating against women and denying female students equal educational opportunities.”

The Arkansas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called the executive order one of Sanders’ “draconian measures.”

“This act is a stark defiance of laws to protect against discrimination and a clear, aggressive attack on the well-being and freedoms of LGBTQ people in our state,” the ACLU said in the post. “This latest action is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior from Gov. Sanders, who seems more invested in divisive politics and fueling culture wars than addressing the urgent needs of Arkansans.”

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