A federal judge in Texas has flushed — for the moment — the Obama administration’s order requiring schools to accommodate students who wanted to use bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.
President Obama had declared that any facility defying his order could get cut off from federal tax dollars.
In defense of the order, the president said the current school bathroom policy of boys only using boys’ bathrooms and girls only using girls’ bathrooms unnecessarily stigmatized transgender K-12 students:
“[T]hey get bullied. And they get ostracized. And it’s tough for them, My best interpretation of what our laws and our obligations are is that we should try to accommodate these kids so that they are not in a vulnerable situation.”
But a spokesman for the Texas-based civil rights law firm Liberty Counsel said the policy didn’t look out for the privacy concerns of the rest of the kids:
“The Obama administration attempted to impose an LGBT agenda on schools, government agencies and private employers. The unlawful directives would have allowed males to use restrooms, dressing rooms, showers and locker rooms assigned for females. In the public school context, these directives would also allow boys to demand they sleep with girls during overnight off-campus trips.”
Liberty Counsel says the injunction also covers federal agencies, municipalities, and private employers, and federal agencies must cease “enforcing illegal guidelines which interpret the word “sex” as “gender” in federal statutes.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor said the decision to continue his injunction against Obama’s order will apply nationwide but only includes “intimate facilities,” not other areas of protections for transgender citizens.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the judge’s ruling sent the president “a clear message”:
“…Texas won’t sit idly by as he continues to ignore the Constitution. The president cannot rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people and then threaten to take away funding from schools to force them to fall in line.”
The order is expected to be appealed and may set up a showdown in the Supreme Court. But, for now, school, showers, bathrooms, locker rooms, and sleepovers will be limited to girls and boys in separate facilities.