Why The USDA Is Being Sued By 22 States

In May of 2022, the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would broaden the prohibition of discrimination based on sex to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in accordance with the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County. 

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack explained, "USDA is committed to administering all its programs with equity and fairness, and serving those in need with the highest dignity. A key step in advancing these principles is rooting out discrimination in any form — including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

The announcement means that agencies that receive FNS funds, which fund the national school lunch program, among others, must update non-discrimination policies and signs, as well as investigate claims of discrimination based on the new, expanded understanding of sex-based discrimination. In light of the new study that shows SNAP can help prevent child abuse, broadening protections for vulnerable populations and people makes sense in terms of ensuring food security for more Americans.

22 Republican attorneys general allege federal overreach

Attorneys general for Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia have united to fight what Indiana AG, Todd Rokita calls the Biden administration's "new level of shamelessness with this ploy of holding up food assistance for low-income kids unless schools do the Left's bidding."

In essence, the 22 states that have filed suit against the USDA believe that the Supreme Court's Bostock v. Clayton County decision has been misconstrued to extend Title IX protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The attorneys general believe it is the right of states to define which categories of people deserve Title IX protection and the UDSA has, therefore, overstepped its bounds. The USDA's broadening of the definition of sex-based discrimination is just one of the efforts of the Biden administration to improve food security for more Americans, along with providing for healthier school lunches.