Federal judge blocks Biden's directives to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination

The temporary block coincides with a lawsuit claiming that the directives infringe upon states’ rights

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published July 17, 2022 3:16PM (EDT)

People attend a memorial service and rally for the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, down the street from the historic Stonewall Inn June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
People attend a memorial service and rally for the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, down the street from the historic Stonewall Inn June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Two new directives put into motion by Biden with the purpose of protecting LGBTQ people from being discriminated against at school and at work have been temporarily blocked by a federal judge. The block is in response to a lawsuit filed by several state attorneys general who view the directives as infringing upon states' rights, according to The Washington Post

"Defendants' guidance directly interferes with and threatens Plaintiff States' ability to continue enforcing their state laws," U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. of the Eastern District of Tennessee wrote in his ruling. "Their sovereign power to enforce their own legal code is hampered by the issuance of Defendants' guidance and they face substantial pressure to change their state laws as a result." 

The states included in the lawsuit that prompted the block are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Representatives for the states listed above are operating on the belief that Biden's directives, if allowed to take hold, would jeopardize their funding.


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The judge who ruled in favor of the block, U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr., was appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2020.

"We are disappointed and outraged by this ruling from the Eastern District of Tennessee where, in yet another example of far-right judges legislating from the bench, the court blocked guidance affirming what the Supreme Court decided in Bostock v. Clayton County: that LGBTQ+ Americans are protected under existing civil rights law," HRC Interim President Joni Madison said in a press release following Atchley's ruling.


By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon's Nights and Weekends editor, and her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere

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