AUSTIN, Texas (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking the Biden administration to court over an “unlawful” federal mandate which seeks to force businesses to concede on the use of sex-based bathrooms, dress codes, and pronouns as subjectively determined by employees, regardless of their actual sex.
On September 20, Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), its chairwoman Charlotte Burrows, and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, petitioning the Northern District of Texas federal court for “declaratory and injunctive relief” from Burrows’ June 15 guidance.
The guidance document outlined a requirement for employers “to allow exceptions from their generally applicable workplace policies on usage of bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers … dress codes, and pronoun usage, based on the subjective gender identities of their employees,” according to the lawsuit.
In contrast, Paxton’s office released a statement declaring that “States have the sovereign right to enact their own policies regarding things such as bathroom usage,” characterizing the move by the EEOC as “an extreme federal overreach by the federal government.”
Paxton himself added that “States should be able to choose protection of privacy for their employers over subjective views of gender, and this illegal guidance puts many women and children at risk.”
“If the Biden Administration thinks they can force states to comply with their political agenda, my office will fight against their radical attempt at social change. These backdoor attempts to force businesses, including the State of Texas, to align with their beliefs is unacceptable,” the Texas Attorney General said.
States should be able to choose protection of privacy for their employers over subjective views of gender, and this illegal guidance puts many women and children at risk. Once again I’m suing The Biden Administration. See you in court. https://t.co/ULYYcJZpSB
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 20, 2021
The 19-page lawsuit contends that Burrows’ guidance “misstates the law” regarding her interpretation of employers’ obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “increasing the scope of liability for the State in its capacity as an employer.”
Paxton wrote that “Burrows did not even have authority to issue” the ruling, given that “Texas and its constituent agencies, including the Texas Department of Agriculture … have the sovereign right to set their own policies on bathroom usage, dress codes, and pronoun usage within their workplaces.”
“The June 15 Guidance is invalid on its face,” the lawsuit reads.
Owing to the recent Bostock vs. Clayton County (2020) decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that employers violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by firing staff on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” the EEOC determined that employers can be justifiably asked to accommodate gender-confused individuals’ wish to dress in accordance with, and be referred to by, their preferred sexual identity.
Accordingly, Burrows’ guidance declared that “[p]rohibiting a transgender person from dressing or presenting consistent with that person’s gender identity would constitute sex discrimination,” “that employers may not deny an employee equal access to a bathroom, locker room, or shower that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity;” and that “use of pronouns or names that are inconsistent with an individual’s gender identity” can be considered harassment.
But according to Paxton’s lawsuit, the Bostock decision applies much more narrowly than Burrows presumes. The suit noted that “Bostock explicitly disclaimed that it was deciding whether ‘sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes’ would violate Title VI,” and that the case did not address the question of pronouns.
Quoting directly from Bostock, the suit explained that the court did not establish “a new or otherwise separate protected class,” but rather “‘proceed[ed] on the assumption that ‘sex’ . . . refer[s] only to biological distinctions between male and female,’ and did not include ‘norms concerning gender identity.’”
Paxton further argued that the guidance comprises a “substantive violation” of both the First Amendment and 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Specifically, the lawsuit emphasizes that Americans’ First Amendment rights are infringed by the EEOC’s attempt to require employers and their employees to use an individual’s preferred pronouns “based on subjective gender identity rather than biological sex.” As such, the lawsuit claims that “the June 15 Guidance unconstitutionally compels and restrains speech.”
Additionally, regarding the 11th Amendment, the lawsuit claims that the EEOC has violated states’ rights by bringing forceable action against Texas for its opposition to an “unlawful” decree such as the “transgender” mandate.
Consequently, Paxton, on behalf of the State of Texas, requested that the court “[d]eclare that the June 15 Guidance is unlawful; [v]acate the June 15 Guidance; [i]ssue preliminary injunctive relief enjoining Defendants from enforcing or implementing the June 15 Guidance,” as well to “[a]ward Texas the costs of this action and reasonable attorney’s fees.”
LifeSiteNews contacted the EEOC for a response to the claims made against them in Paxton’s lawsuit, but its spokesman declined to comment.