By Michael Gryboski, Mainline Church Editor
A court has ruled against the Biden administration’s requirement that healthcare providers perform sex-change procedures, concluding that federal Title IX’s definition of sex discrimination does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. The case centered on two Texas physicians who filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Notification of Interpretation and Enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which interpreted Title IX’s definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The physicians sued, arguing that the Notification forced them to provide services such as body-mutilating surgeries on people suffering from gender dysphoria, such as castration and double mastectomies, and that it violated federal administrative procedures.
In a decision released Friday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division, ruled that “Title IX operates in binary terms — male and female — when it references ‘on the basis of sex.’”
“If ‘on the basis of sex’ included ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ as Defendants envision, Title IX and its regulations would be nonsensical,” Kacsmaryk ruled. “Title IX expressly allows sex distinctions and sometimes even requires them to promote equal opportunity.”
“Defendants’ reinterpretation of Title IX through the Notification imperils the very opportunities for women Title IX was designed to promote and protect — categorically forcing biological women to compete against biological men.”
Kacsmaryk also rejected the claim by the defendants that their reinterpretation of Title IX was justified in light of the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court v. Clayton County, in which the high court concluded that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against employment discrimination, applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Title IX is not Title VII,” Kacsmaryk continued. “The Court will not reflexively apply new Title VII precedent in the Title IX context.”
In May 2021, the HHS announced that it was going to interpret Title IX’s explicit prohibition on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Under the new interpretation, the HHS Office for Civil Rights would enforce Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to protect “the civil rights of individuals who access or seek to access covered health programs or activities” and stop discrimination “against consumers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The proposed reinterpretation of Title IX was met with multiple lawsuits, with a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit unanimously deciding to block the implementation of the rule back in August.