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Federal Judge Halts Obama Administration “Bathroom Guidance”

A federal district court judge in Texas has granted a preliminary injunction that will temporarily prevent the implementation of the Obama administration’s radical bathroom, locker room, shower and dormitory policy for public schools, colleges and universities. Although this case involves 13 states that are suing the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, Labor and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the court’s action appears to enjoin the implementation of the Obama Administration’s bathroom policy nationwide.

In May, the Obama administration issued a “guidance letter” that essentially directs all public schools, colleges, and universities across the U.S. to allow students to use the bathrooms, locker rooms, showers and dormitories that are consistent with their gender identity as opposed to biological sex, or risk the loss of federal funding. The Obama administration is basing its position on its interpretation of the word “sex” in federal anti-discrimination laws to include “gender identity.”

In his opinion issued yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor wrote: “This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students’ 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. The sensitivity to this matter is heightened because Defendants’ actions apply to the youngest child attending school and continues for every year throughout each child’s educational career. The resolution of this difficult policy issue is not, however, the subject of this Order. Instead, the Constitution assigns these policy choices to the appropriate elected and appointed officials, who must follow the proper legal procedure.”

Judge O’Connor found that the government agencies in question did not follow proper rulemaking procedures for adopting and implementing new policy. “Defendants failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act by:(1) foregoing the Administrative Procedures Act’s notice and comment requirements; and (2) issuing directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory texts,” the opinion states. “It cannot be disputed that the plain meaning of the term sex as used in § 106.33 when it was enacted by DOE following passage of Title IX meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”

Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) stated “we are currently reviewing the order to determine the positive impact this order has for cases that ADF is litigating against the departments of Education and Justice in Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio.” ADF is a Christian legal organization that is representing a group of North Carolina students and parents in their lawsuit against the Obama administration regarding their public school guidelines.


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