LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Gov. Joe Lombardo has joined other Republican governors in opposing a Biden Administration plan to use the withholding of federal funds to enforce gender equity in sports.

The plan to expand the meaning of sexual discrimination to include gender identity involves rules under Title IX. Republicans described the proposed change as a “blatant overreach.”

Democrats in the Nevada Legislature have already rejected a Republican bill that would limited participation in sports based on a person’s gender stated on their birth certificate. Assembly Bill 374, sponsored by 16 Republicans led by Assemblyman Bert Gurr, died in committee when it was never brought to a vote.

Lombardo joined Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Texas’s Greg Abbott, Utah’s Spencer Cox and 21 other Republican governors in opposing the Biden Administration proposal through the U.S. Department of Education.

​​“The proposed rule could prevent states from enforcing our duly-enacted statutes protecting fairness in women’s and girls’ sports. If (the rule is) not withdrawn, we are gravely concerned about the impact that the Department’s wholesale reinvention of Title IX’s terms would have on states’ ability to enforce their laws and policies as written… Most troubling, the proposed regulation would turn the purpose of Title IX on its head and threaten the many achievements of women in athletics.”

Any school that violates Title IX is in jeopardy of losing federal funds.

Republicans want the Department of Education to wait for several rulings on Title IX cases expected from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The International Olympic Committee has worked to open opportunities for athletes to compete against athletes of the gender group with which they identify.

The question has produced emotional debate on both sides, and the case of a transgender woman — Penn swimmer Lia Thomas — has made national headlines. A Sports Illustrated article delves into the subject in a 2022 report that the magazine says it will continue to update as policies change.

The statement opposing the change to Title IX cites an “utter lack of authority” for such an action by the Department of Education.

A statement criticizing Lombardo’s decision to go along with other Republican governors came from Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress:

“Governor Joe Lombardo likes to play the moderate, but he’s a far right MAGA extremist, just like the leadership of his party. The legal attacks, genocidal rhetoric, and actual violence, being directed at transgender Americans is nothing short of cruel and bigoted. For Governor Lombardo to align himself with this letter shows that he doesn’t believe Nevada should be welcoming for everyone, and that he is buying the far right fear mongering and hateful beliefs about trans people. We’re thankful for bills moving in the Nevada legislature, SB163 and SB302, that go in the opposite direction of states looking to further marginalize trans people. SB163 would require insurance, including Medicaid, to cover gender-affirming care, and SB302, would prevent those providing gender-affirming care, or traveling to Nevada to receive said care, from criminal prosecution by other states. As these bills work their way through the legislative process, and hopefully end up on Governor Lombardo’s desk, we sincerely hope the Governor will remember that the true Nevada Way is a state that is open, inclusive, and equitable to all, not a place to push the latest right-wing culture war at the expense of some of the most vulnerable communities. This letter does not represent Nevada; it is not who we are, and we are ashamed of Governor Lombardo’s name being listed on it.”