Biden administration’s new protections for LGBTQ+ students blocked in 6 more states

The Biden administration cannot enforce new protections for LGBTQ+ students in Ohio, Virginia and four other states, a federal judge ruled Monday, becoming the latest court to rebuff efforts to expand the scope of a decades-old law that prohibits sex-based discrimination.

US District Judge Danny Reeves said in a 93-page ruling that the new protections – which are set to take effect August 1 – cannot be enforced in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia while a lawsuit brought by those states’ attorneys general plays out.

The new rules require schools to protect students from all sex discrimination, including sexual violence and sex-based harassment, expanding that definition to include discrimination based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions like childbirth, termination of pregnancy or recovery from pregnancy. Compliance with the new rules is required to receive federal education aid.

Among other things, the changes made by the Biden administration to Title IX – the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools that receive federal aid – aim to curb discrimination “based on sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics,” according to the Department of Education.

But in his ruling Monday, Reeves, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, said the Department of Education “would turn Title IX on its head by redefining ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity.’”

“The Department’s interpretation conflicts with the plain language of Title IX and therefore exceeds its authority to promulgate regulations under that statute,” the judge wrote, adding that he also believed the changes would, in effect, require some educators “to use students’ preferred pronouns regardless of whether doing so conflicts with the educator’s religious or moral beliefs.”

The decision comes days after a separate judge similarly blocked the administration from enforcing the protections in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana and Idaho. Several other challenges are pending in federal courts across the country.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education referred Monday to its reaction issued after last week’s ruling.

“The Department crafted the final Title IX regulations following a rigorous process to realize the Title IX statutory guarantee,” the spokesperson, Vanessa Harmoush, said in a statement. “The Department stands by the final Title IX regulations released in April 2024, and we will continue to fight for every student.”

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at