A judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Obama administrations ruling on transgender bathrooms, which stated that transgender children have the right to use the restrooms, locker rooms and showers of the student’s choosing.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth, Texas issued a “nationwide preliminary injunction”, which states that “Federal officials didn’t follow proper procedures in creating the directives”, and that “the guidelines contradicted existing statutes and regulatory texts.” [PDF]
The Preliminary Injunction Order goes on to say that “the case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of student’s rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school.”
Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is pleased with Judge O’Connor’s ruling. Paxton believes that the Obama administration’s directive was an “illegal federal overreach” and stated that “this president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people”. He expressed his disapproval of the administration’s threat to revoke federal funding to those schools who do not comply.
Paul Castillo, a Dallas attorney for the gay rights group Lambda Legal, believes the temporary block will only be a small setback that will ultimately be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Transgender students are already at high risk of harassment and being targeted for discrimination,” he stated. “This decision is certainly indicative of the harm to transgender students who are simply seeking to be treated equally in all aspects of their education”.
WILL THE SUPREME COURT ULTIMATELY SIDE WITH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION?
The U.S. Supreme Court has historically sided with the state against the Obama administration’s transgender laws. Last week, a federal judge in Detroit upheld the firing of a transgender funeral home employee, ruling that “neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes” under anti-discrimination laws.
Earlier this August, the U.S. Supreme Court also blocked a ruling that would require a school district to allow a biologically-female transgender student to use the boys’ restroom.
TEXAS ISN’T THE ONLY ONE
10 more states have sued the Obama administration over the transgender bathroom directive. Lawsuits filed by Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming in July are being brought to federal court.
Another 13 states – Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin – have filed a brief in federal court to stop the administration from applying its own interpretation of “sex” in the laws.
In May, the administration issued a directive from the Education and Justice Department saying that transgender students must be afforded sweeping protections under “Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in educational programs and activities”.
While the administration has threatened to withhold funding from those states that do not comply, it has yet to do so.
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