Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against President Obama and his administration and vows a fight on his transgender policy for Texas schools. Ten states have joined the state of Texas in suing the federal government.
The lawsuit filed in federal court names the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other federal agencies and officials as defendants. It complains of their directives requiring Texas public schools to open restrooms and locker rooms to both sexes. The State of Texas is also defending a local school district whose school policies are in conflict with the Obama Administration directive.
On Friday, May 13, the Department of Education (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, sent a “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” to state and local agencies that receive federal financial assistance from the DOE. The policy allows students to use bathroom and other facilities that they “gender identify” with at the moment. A head of the Office of Civil Rights in the DOE thus joined with the White House legal arm, the DOJ, and sent a letter which they represented should serve as “significant guidance.”
“Our local schools are now in the crosshairs of the Obama Administration, which maintains it will punish those schools who do not comply with its orders. These schools are facing the potential loss of school funding for simply following common sense policies that protect their students,” Texas Attorney General Paxton said. “This represents just the latest example of the current administration’s attempts to accomplish by executive fiat what they couldn’t accomplish through the democratic process in Congress. By forcing through his policies by executive action, President Obama excluded the voice of the people. We stand today to ensure those voices are heard.”
The Texas Attorney General says that the Obama Administration is “attempting to rewrite the term ‘sex’” in federal law and expand it to include the fluid concept of “gender identity.” Paxton says that if the federal administration is successful in accomplishing this mission, “this radical change opens up all intimate areas within schools simultaneously to members of both sexes.”
Texas is joined by ten states in “pushing back against enforcement of these unconstitutional rules.” Joining Texas in the filing are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
As reported by Breitbart Texas on May 18th, the Texas Attorney General called out the civil rights heads of the DOE and the DOJ for talking out two sides of their face about states’ compliance with their transgender policy “guidance.” They asked questions about the mandatoriness of compliance, and about conflicting statements and applications of this letter of “guidance.” The letter written by Attorney General Ken Paxton to Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhamon and Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta was joined by Oklahoma AG E. Scott Pruitt and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey. These AGs joined to ask the federal agencies for clarification with regard to “the effect you intend this letter to have.”
The common sense implication from the federal government for schools that do not comply with the federal policy – risk losing federal funding and lawsuits.
Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. These funding recipient schools are all subject to Title IX’s requirements.
This article has been updated.