Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his opposition to proposed amendments to the regulations on implementing Title IX in a news conference on Sept. 15.
The proposed amendments would reverse controversial changes made to the law under the previous administration, as well as expanding the law’s scope to better protect students from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Hutchinson said the proposed changes would violate Arkansas law that prohibits biological men from competing in women’s sports. In practice, the law is used to prevent transgender women from competing, which would be considered discrimination under an updated Title IX.
“The proposed rules would make it clear that sexual orientation and gender identity are both covered under the non-discrimination laws for our schools,” Hutchinson said. The governor also claimed that the proposed changes would “interfere with common sense” and “local control.”
Hutchinson announced Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed a response with other Attorneys General opposing the new rules. Secretary Johnny Key and the Department of Education have also joined other states in presenting comments opposing these proposed rules.
In cases dealing with laws and practices similar to the Arkansas law, many courts have ruled that discrimination against transgender students likely constitutes a violation of Title IX. Earlier this year, President Biden issued an executive order asking the Department of Education to revise the law to ensure that students are better protected from discrimination.
A recording of the full news conference is available online.