COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson on Tuesday joined 21 other states in a lawsuit against the Biden Administration over the withholding of federal nutrition assistance funds from states that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the lawsuit, new guidance by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — which clarifies that “discrimination based on sex in Title IX and the Food and Nutrition Act includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” — threatens South Carolina’s Title IX and SNAP school lunch funding.

Wilson accused the Biden Administration of “holding school lunches hostage over radical ideology” because the new guidance expands the definition of discrimination for institutions receiving federal funds.

A letter previously sent to the Biden Administration by those in opposition to the change elaborated on Wilson’s theory, claiming that “vastly expanding the concept of ‘discrimination on the basis of sex’ to include gender identity and sexual orientation” would result in “regulatory chaos that would threaten the effective provision of essential nutritional services to some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The lawsuit further claimed that the guidance was unlawfully implemented for the following reasons:

  • It was issued without providing the State and other stakeholders the opportunity for input as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
  • The USDA premised its guidance on an obvious misreading and misapplication of the Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County.
  • The Guidance imposes new and unlawful regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal financial assistance from the USDA. This will inevitably result in regulatory chaos that threatens essential nutritional services to some of the most vulnerable citizens.

The lawsuit asks for the change to be reversed, as well as for “a declaratory judgement that the Department may neither penalize nor withdraw federal funding from Plaintiffs and Title IX Food and Nutrition Act recipients located in Plaintiff States” that do the following:

  • Separate students by biological sex in appropriate circumstances.
  • Maintain showers, locker rooms, bathrooms, residential facilities, and other living facilities separated by biological sex or regulate each individual’s access to those facilities based on the individual’s biological sex.
  • Do not require employees or students to use a transgender individual’s preferred pronouns.
  • Maintain athletic teams separated by biological sex or from assigning an individual to a team based on the individual’s biological sex.

Click here to read the full complaint.