The Biden administration’s drive to link the provision of federal school lunch money to compliance with gender identity ideology was challenged Tuesday by 22 states saying they would take the matter to court.
As Breitbart News reported, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last month announced in order for schools to receive funds for student lunches, breakfasts, and other food items, they must comply with its interpretation of the ban on discrimination based on sex in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other food-related programs, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
“USDA is committed to administering all its programs with equity and fairness, and serving those in need with the highest dignity,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release.
“A key step in advancing these principles is rooting out discrimination in any form – including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The Biden administration has tethered federal school lunch funding to compliance with gender ideology, allowing boys to use girls' restrooms. https://t.co/5Hbh2reiV6
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 2, 2022
Schools awarded money from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency within USDA, must specify in their policies that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is prohibited, the department confirmed. It also said allegations of such discrimination must be investigated.
Now states are pushing against the demand for “correct” ideology to be linked to state provision of food and nutrition.
“We all know the Biden administration is dead-set on imposing an extreme left-wing agenda on Americans nationwide,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who is leading the 22-state lawsuit, said in a statement as seen by UPI new outlet.
“But they’ve reached a new level of shamelessness with this ploy of holding up food assistance for low-income kids unless schools do the left’s bidding.”
The 22 states, which are mostly Republican-controlled, named in the lawsuit are Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
The lawsuit, co-led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, specifically names the USDA as a defendant.
It accuses the Biden administration of misconstruing federal law and misinterpreting the Supreme Court decision in Bostock vs. Clayton County, which protects employees against discrimination for being gay or transgender.
UPI sets out the National School Lunch Program feeds nearly 30 million students every day. Approximately 100,000 public, non-profit private schools and day-cares receive federal funding to subsidize free or reduced-priced meals for qualifying children.
“The Biden administration’s actions will inevitably result in regulatory chaos that threatens essential nutritional services to some of Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens,” Rokita said.