(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Attorney General Dave Yost is among 26 state attorneys general calling on President Joe Biden to withdraw the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new “guidance” on sex-based discrimination for schools and other organizations receiving federal money for food programs.
The practical effect of the USDA’s directive means that states, local agencies, and programs that receive federal money for food programs through the Food and Nutrition Act and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) could lose their funding if they don’t comply – including in their hiring practices.
“Using hungry children as a human shield in a policy dispute violates basic decency,” Yost said. “Aren’t there any parents in the Biden Administration that can see past the edges of their ideology?”
At issue is a drastically broader interpretation of sex discrimination than originally defined in Title IX. The guidance, announced May 5 by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, extends the prohibition on sex discrimination to sexual orientation and gender identity. The USDA cited the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County as the basis for its decision.
The guidance applies to about 100,000 public and nonprofit-private schools and residential child-care institutions that participate in the national school breakfast and lunch programs, which provide subsidized free or reduced-price meals daily for nearly 30 million children.
In their letter to President Biden, the attorneys general maintain that the USDA guidance imposes new and unlawful regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal funds from the USDA, resulting in regulatory chaos that threatens essential nutritional services to some of the most vulnerable Americans.
The coalition was led by Tennessee with the support of Ohio, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.