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Nebraska AG joins lawsuit opposing anti-discrimination regulations affecting LGBTQ students

Posted at 8:10 AM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 09:10:59-04

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) — There has been a lot of back and forth over some recent guidance by the Biden administration regarding LGBTQ students and school lunches.

The new rule is a clarification of Title IX that includes gender identity and sexual orientation in the same class as discrimination based on sex.

The Biden administration says it will now require schools to investigate discrimination against trans and queer students if they want to receive SNAP lunch benefits from the USDA.

But Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson argues the administration didn't follow proper procedures when implementing that new rule and claim that schools will also have "obligations that apparently stretch as far as ending sex-separated living facilities and athletics and mandating the use of biologically inaccurate preferred pronouns."

The claim regarding bathrooms and athletic teams has also been made by Governor Ricketts.

But others following the changes say those obligations couldn't be further from the truth.

"These things from the USDA, this updated guidance, has nothing to do with bathroom access. It has nothing to do with sports teams despite what the governor says, despite what the attorney general says," said Sara Rips, LGBTQIA+ Legal & Policy counsel for the ACLU of Nebraska.

We looked into the USDA's instructions on implementing the new requirements and nowhere in their press releases does it mention bathrooms or athletics.

"It's a distraction from the fact that we have students in our schools who need access to quality food and they should be given that access regardless of where they come from, what they look like, and how they internally identify or who they love," said Rips.

The two sides have made their own competing statements over the last few days.

The ACLU of Nebraska claims Peterson and Governor Ricketts are wanting to take lunch funding away from LGBTQ students but AG Peterson released his own statement Thursday calling that assertion ridiculous before again claiming schools will lose funding for requiring males to play on male sports teams and females to play on female sports teams.

There isn't much the two sides agree on, and for Rips, this latest fight seems familiar.

"I have actually had the opportunity to sit down with the attorney general and explain why these kinds of attacks are hurtful. So often I've heard him say it is about challenging the Biden administration's ability to issue executive orders and the broad overreach of government. But there are so many areas in which you could challenge that, why does it always have to be ones that affect LGBTQ people," said Rips.

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