President Biden’s nominee for attorney general on Monday dodged a question about biological boys playing on girls’ teams, saying he had not fully studied the issue.
Merrick Garland, currently a federal judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering his nomination.
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Garland if he agreed with the following statement: “Allowing biological males to compete in an all-female sport deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully in family in sports and is fundamentally unfair to female athletes.”
“This is a very difficult societal question that you're asking here,” Garland responded.
“But you're gonna be attorney general,” Kennedy interjected.
“I may not be the one who has to make policy decisions like that,” Garland said. “But it's not that I'm adverse to it. But I think every human being should be treated with dignity and respect. And that's an overriding sense of my own character, but an overriding sense of what the law requires. This particular question of how Title IX applies in schools is one, in light of the Bostock case ... is something that I would have to look at when I have a chance to do that. I've not had the chance to consider these kinds of issues in my career so far. But I agree that this is a difficult question.”
Sen. John Kennedy asks Judge Garland if he believes biological men should compete in female sports:— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 22, 2021
GARLAND: "This is a very difficult societal question."
KENNEDY: "I know but you're going to be Attorney General." pic.twitter.com/Rsd9ItyI6G
Title IX is a 1972 law prohibiting discrimination based on sex in education and athletics. In his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order declaring that his administration interprets Title IX as applying to sexual orientation and gender identity. Such an interpretation presumably would require schools to allow biological boys who identify as girls to compete on girls’ teams.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the executive order says.
In recent years in Connecticut, two biological boys who identify as girls won 15 girls’ state track titles.
Miguel Cardona, Biden’s choice for secretary of education, told senators this month that biological boys who identify as girls have the legal right to compete on girls’ teams and that if confirmed, he will ensure schools are following that interpretation of the law.
Meanwhile, tennis legend Martina Navratilova and a coalition of women’s sports activists this month said they support most of the Biden administration’s plans for the LGBT community but believe that allowing transgender girls and women who “have experienced all or part of male puberty” gives them an unfair advantage.
Title IX currently states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Drew Angerer/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.