By Joseph Summers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to update its rules for federal funding for school lunches, requiring schools to consider “gender identity” a protected class and let biological male students use women’s and girls’ restrooms.
The new rules were announced earlier this month in a statement by the USDA saying that the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will interpret Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of biological sex, to include so-called “gender identity” and sexual orientation.
Schools and other agencies will have to accept the USDA “non-discrimination” policies to receive FNS funding, according to the announcement.
According to the USDA, the decision to include “gender identity” and sexual orientation was made in light of President Joe Biden’s executive order against “discrimination” toward homosexuals and gender-confused individuals. USDA also cites the Supreme Court’s Bostock vs. Clayton County decision, which ruled that the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects “gender identity” and sexual orientation in addition to biological sex in the workplace.
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, noted the USDA’s commitment to “rooting out discrimination in any form – including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“We hope that by standing firm against these inequities we will help bring about much-needed change.”
Speaking to The Federalist, a spokesperson from the USDA said that religious organizations can request an exemption from the new rules, provided they provide “a written declaration to the Secretary of Agriculture identifying the provisions that conflict with a specific tenet of the religious organization.”
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, also speaking to The Federalist, commented on the Biden administration’s extension of Bostock in a statement, saying “The Biden administration is grossly extending the Bostock holding where it does not belong. Like many of the Biden administration’s power grabs, this imposition transgresses areas of proper state and local authority.”
The announcement was made before the Department of Education (DOE) said that it would delay new rules set to include “transgender” students in Title IX protections. The rules, if imposed, would overturn protections on women’s sports.