Governor Gianforte Defends Equal Opportunity for Girls and Women
Governor encourages Montanans to make their voice heard by submitting public comment
HELENA, Mont. – Amid efforts by the Biden administration to overhaul Title IX, Governor Greg Gianforte today urged the administration to abandon its plans to undermine equal opportunity for Montana girls and women. The governor also called on Montanans to submit public comment on the proposed changes to make their voice heard.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ensures women have equal access to opportunities at educational institutions in the United States, as well as protection against sexual harassment and discrimination.
The Biden administration’s Department of Education recently proposed amendments to Title IX that, among other things, would jeopardize equal opportunity for women and girls and would end female-only sports, spaces, and services as they exist today.
“The Department’s proposed amendments of Title IX misunderstand and distort the law’s explicit intent, and if implemented, will undermine the positive developments that have resulted from the landmark 50-year-old law,” the governor wrote. “As importantly, I write to support and stand with girls and women who rely on Title IX as a protection of equal opportunity.”
Gov. Gianforte highlighted the impacts the administration’s amendments to Title IX would have on Montana girls and women.
“The Department and Biden administration’s proposed amendments to Title IX undermine the very intent of Title IX – to advance and protect equal opportunity of girls and women in schools, athletics, and other extracurricular activities,” Gov. Gianforte wrote to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“It would force female athletes to compete with biological male athletes. Beyond sports, however, the Department and Administration are going down a path that could further undermine girls and women by eliminating sex-separate bathrooms, locker rooms, and dormitories,” the governor wrote.
The governor also noted the impacts the proposed amendments would have on schools.
“The shaky foundation upon which the Department and Administration’s far-reaching amendments are built is susceptible to litigation. In the meantime, however, schools, colleges, and universities put themselves in grave legal liability should they comply with these amendments, were they adopted,” the governor wrote.
“Furthermore… schools will have to reallocate resources, which could otherwise be dedicated to the education of students, to comply with these unfunded mandates,” the governor continued. “Colleges and universities, with a demonstrable, ever-expanding administrative bloat, will continue growing its bureaucracy, hiring more administrators, and passing along the cost of these compliance administrators to students and parents through even higher tuitions.”
Finally, the governor challenged the department on its improper reliance on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County decision in proposing its amendments.
“The Bostock decision, upon which the Department relies so heavily in its efforts to mangle Title IX, does not and cannot apply to Title IX,” the governor wrote. “At no point in the court’s Bostock opinion did the court address Title IX and education.”
The governor continued, “It is not lost on me, nor should it be lost on you, that the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX could lead to the types of discrimination and harassment that the law seeks to prevent.”
“Should you and President Biden choose to proceed with your extreme amendments, I assure you the State of Montana will protect and defend the educational rights and opportunities of girls and women under Title IX,” the governor concluded.
The U.S. Department of Education is currently accepting public comment on its proposed changes to Title IX. The public comment period closes September 12, 2022.
Governor Gianforte encourages Montanans to make their voice heard and send their public comment to the department. More information about the rule and access to an online portal to submit public comment may be found here.
The governor’s full letter to Secretary Cardona opposing the Biden administration’s efforts to amend Title IX can be viewed here.