LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A group of Republican attorneys general, including Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, is suing the USDA over a policy prohibiting the discrimination of LGBTQ children. 

What You Need To Know

  • A group of Republican attorneys general is challenging LGBTQ protections associated with the USDA national school lunch program

  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is part of the lawsuit

  • The group of attorneys general said the Biden administration is creating rules that state or federal lawmakers have the authority to implement

  • Advocates for LGBTQ people say it’s a “shameful” attempt to keep kids from receiving free or reduced-price lunch because of their sexuality or gender identity

The policy specifically involves the national school lunch program. The Biden administration put the rule in place after a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that protected gay and trans rights in the workplace, although the Republican attorneys general said he’s misinterpreting the ruling.

Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign said the lawsuit is sad and shameful.  

“We’re talking about access to basic human needs; the access to food in schools,” he said. “And to use that as a political grandstand to attempt to attack trans kids for political points is truly shameful.”

Cameron issued a statement criticizing President Joe Biden’s policy.

“The Biden administration’s directive sacrifices the nutritional needs of America’s children to advance a political agenda,” he said. “Approximately 100,000 programs receive federal funding to provide free or reduced-price meals for children, and we cannot allow the Biden administration’s flawed policies to result in necessary funding being withheld from Kentucky’s schools, residential child care centers and other programs.”

A separate statement from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said only Congress has the authority to implement such a policy.

ACLU of Kentucky legal director Corey Shapiro said it’s a narrow policy, only aimed at protecting access to food.  

“They are not forcing any other polices on a school,” he said. “This doesn’t have anything to do with school policies on athletics, or school policies on facilities. It simply has to do with making sure kids — all kids, regardless of how they identify — have access to their school lunches and lunch money.”

It’s not clear exactly how the USDA rule is being enforced, or if any schools actually risked losing money because of it.

Hartman said, given the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and specifically Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that said the court should reconsider other rulings that protected gay relationships and marriages, it’s a scary time for LGBTQ advocates.  

“There’s so much at stake right now,” he said. “And it’s a frightening time for every marginalized group in America for fear that the Supreme Court may soon come for them.”