Over a dozen Republican governors are urging the Biden administration to halt a proposed rule change that could block federal funding for school lunches at schools that keep transgender athletes off of girls' sports teams.
In a letter to President Biden Wednesday, 15 governors called the proposal to tie school lunch program funding to openness to transgender participation on sports teams a "misguided" interpretation of Title IX rules, which prohibit discrimination based on sex.
"To be clear, your Administration would take lunch money away from our kids and grandkids in pursuit of a radical agenda that has no basis in science and is not supported by the vast majority of the American people," the governors, led by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News Digital.
Proposals from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Education's (DOE) proposal would interpret Title IX to restrict discrimination based on gender identity, which the governors — and a group of state attorneys general — say is a misuse of the law and would put school-aged girls in danger.
"By expanding Title IX to include gender identity and sexual orientation, your Administration puts girls and women of all ages at risk," the governors wrote in the letter. "The DOEd rule would force any institution that receives federal financial aid to allow biological males to access women’s and girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms, and dorms, depriving them of privacy and safety at school. The rule ensures that a far-left ideology on gender will be taught in schools nationwide."
The USDA's Food and Nutrition service (FNS) oversees several nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or low-cost lunches for students and fed nearly 30 million kids per day, on average, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 5, USDA announced that it would investigate claims of discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, including transgender students, and act accordingly, which conservative activists quickly viewed as threatening schools that restrict biological men who identify as transgender from competing on girls' teams.
The USDA and DOE's use of Title IX relies on the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which found that employers could not discriminate based on sexual orientation or identity in hiring decisions. The governors say that Biden's administration is overreaching by applying that interpretation to everything Title IX covers.
"The Court’s decision in that case explicitly did not apply to ‘other federal or state laws that prohibit sex discrimination,’ such as Title IX. As such, these changes should be rejected based on this unwarranted interpretation of Bostock," the governors wrote.
"We ask your Administration to trust the science on human biology; realize that there are real, wonderful biological differences between women and men; understand that those differences impact us in many ways—some subtle, some profound; and recognize that athletic competition is one of the arenas in which these differences are the most striking," the governors said.
They also threatened action if the government continued with the policies.
"If your Administration chooses to move forward with these reinterpretations of Title IX, Bostock, and basic human biology, our states will have no choice but to pursue avenues to redress any harm that is done to our children as a result. We trust that you will give attention to the concerns we have outlined and look forward to an expedient resolution that will keep food in the mouths of our children and fairness on the playing field," the governors wrote.
Other governors who signed the letter include Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Brad Little of Idaho, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Mike Parson Missouri, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Henry McMaster South Carolina, Bill Lee of Tennessee, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.