The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) expressed disappointment after a federal judge in Texas blocked the implementation of an Obama administration order forcing America’s public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
The Monday order from federal district judge Reed O’Connor strikes down guidance the Obama administration had sent to school districts across the country in May. The guidance advised school districts to allow transgender students to choose their own bathrooms and shower stalls consistent with how the students feel about their gender identities. “A school’s failure to treat students consistent with their gender identity may create or contribute to a hostile environment in violation of Title IX,” the letter said, in reference to the 1972 federal law banning gender discrimination in education.
“This ruling, while not surprising, sends a terrible message to transgender and gender nonconforming students that they don’t deserve the same opportunities to succeed in school as other students,” GLSEN public policy director Nathan Smith said in a statement emailed to The Daily Caller.
After charging that O’Connor’s Northern District of Texas has a “track record of being on the wrong side of history,” Smith promised that gay political groups will continue to fight to force underage girls to use bathrooms and showers with boys who are not girls but say they feel like girls — and vice versa.
“It is not the end of our fight to ensure that all students attend schools that are safe and affirming,” Smith declared. “It is incredibly important for schools to know that this ruling does not prevent them from enacting policies that are supportive and inclusive of their transgender and gender nonconforming students. In fact, such policies are even more crucial now as students go back to school, many without the support they might have expected from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice’s guidance.”
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network urged taxpayer-funded school officials to focus “on the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming students.” The group also urged transgender students and their parents “to demand the support they need from their schools, including by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights” if school officials don’t let them use whichever bathrooms they prefer not to use.
Monday’s order by O’Connor, an appointee of George W. Bush, has arisen because Texas and a dozen other states brought a lawsuit earlier this month against several federal agencies, seeking an injunction to block the Obama administration guidance. (RELATED: Texas Leads 13 States In Lawsuit To Stop Obama Transgender Bathroom Rules)
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the ruling.
“We are pleased that the court ruled against the Obama administration’s latest illegal federal overreach,” Paxton said. “This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform. That cannot be allowed to continue.” (RELATED: Judge Knocks Down Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Order)
The suing states accused the agencies of issuing the guidelines by means of regulatory “dark matter,” a deluge of agency directives, notices, memoranda, guidance documents, and even blog posts which effectively create new policy without congressional legislation or Administrative Procedure Act (APA) protocols. The states claim that this strategy allows agencies to evade judicial review and achieve their policy objectives.
O’Connor reasoned that agency actions must not be judged by their label but by their effect. Because school district which do not comply with the guidelines face sanctions, — possibly in the form of reduced federal funding — the judge ruled they have an “actual legal effect.”
“The guidelines are, in practice, legislative rules — not just interpretations or policy statements because they set clear legal standards,” the judge wrote.