Eleven nations filed a federal suit on Wednesday challenging the Obama administrations standagainst country laws prohibiting transgender students in public schools from utilizing the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
The lawsuit accuses Attorney General Loretta Lynch; Education Secretary John King; and the Departments of Education, Justice, and Labor with transforming workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experimentation, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over common-sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.
The litigation, filed Wednesday in a Dallas courtroom, further accuses the Obama administration of overstepping its executive authority by reinterpreting longstanding federal laws.
The new regulations, regulations, guidance, and interpretations described herein run so far beyond any reasonable read of the relevant Congressional text such that the new rules, regulations, guidance, and interpretations functionally exercise lawmaking power reserved only to Congress, it says.
Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia are all party to the litigation, in addition to Maine Gov. Paul LePage, the Arizona Department of Education, and one Texas and one Arizona school district.
The Justice Department was not prepared to comment on the lawsuit at press time.
Earlier this month, Lynch delivered what is widely regarded as an landmark speech in the fight for transgender equality, fiercely rebuking North Carolinas recently passed bathroom lawcommonly referred to as House Bill 2 or HB2which restriction the access of transgender individuals to bathrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Lynchs speech, which likened HB2 to Jim crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation, followed the proclamation of a Justice Department lawsuit targeting the state of North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory, along with the states Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina.
We have find bill after bill in country after state taking aim at the LGBT community, Lynch said. Some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown, and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change. But this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion, and open-mindedness.
A letter co-signed by the Justice and Education Departments less than two weeks ago, which was described as significant guidance, advised public schools to comply with Title IX, which proscribes sex discrimination in educational programs and activities operated by recipients of federal financial assistance.
Those that comply do not risk losing federal funding, government departments have said.
Photo via U.S. Department of Commerce/ Flickr ( CC-BY-ND)