JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that his office joined states in opposing the USDA Nutrition Services Civil Rights Division’s guidance proposing regulations on state agencies’ federal financial assistance on the basis of gender and sexual orientation discrimination.
“The USDA is requiring schools to comply with their gender identity agenda and other guidelines in order to receive federal lunch assistance, which helps Missouri’s most vulnerable children in rural and urban areas,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “With this guidance, the federal government is essentially holding basic resources for Missouri children hostage to further its radical agenda. I am proud to join this effort to stop the USDA and the Biden Administration’s attempt to hold school lunch assistance hostage.”
The letter asserts that this guidance is unlawful for two reasons: 1) States were not given the opportunity to make a statement on the Guidance before it was sent, and 2) the USDA unjustifiably expanded the definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
As the letter states, this guidance implements much more than direction, “It imposes new-and unlawful-regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal financial assistance from USDA. And the inevitable result is regulatory chaos that would threaten the effective provision of essential nutritional services to some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
“It has passed off as a ‘clarification’ what is actually a re-write of the law in Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act,” the 26 state coalition wrote in the letter. “Far from providing clarification as to Title IX law, the guidance substantially and substantively expands the law.”
In addition to Missouri, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming joined.
The letter can be read here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/attorneygeneral/documents/pr/2022/pr22-16-letter.pdf