AUSTIN, Texas (UPI) — Eleven states are involved in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday to challenge the Obama administration’s recent directive asking states to allow transgender students at public schools to use whichever bathroom they identify with.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The lawsuit claims the directive, issued May 13, “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”
Additionally, the suit claims the federal government has “conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment” with the directive. It also accuses the Obama administration of “running roughshod over common sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”
This lawsuit — which includes nine states as well as another governor and one state’s education department — is the first to respond to the administration’s directive for states to allow transgender students to use whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable with.
Many states have accepted the directive.
The states named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Georgia, Utah, Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Louisiana, as well as the Arizona Department of Education and Maine Gov. Paul LePage. A school district in Texas and another in Arizona also joined the suit.
The legal challenge follows a controversial law recently passed by the state of North Carolina mandating that all public employees and students at public universities use restrooms for the gender they were assigned at birth — not the gender they identify with. That act was met with substantial criticism from the LGBT community, President Barack Obama’s administration and other advocates.
The Justice Department gave North Carolina an ultimatum to junk the law and later initiated “significant law enforcement action” against the state and Gov. Pat McCrory when they did not.
Earlier this month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined seven other states filing an amicus brief in a lawsuit over a Virginia school district bathroom policy.
“One’s sex is a biological fact, not a state of mind,” Paxton said in a written statement about the brief. “If this radical new interpretation by the Department of Education is permitted to go unchallenged, schools may no longer be able to maintain separate restrooms, showers and locker rooms on the basis of students’ actual sex.
“Title IX permits all schools to maintain separate facilities, including bathrooms and locker rooms, and I will defend that principle.”
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