Obama policy was blocked on Sunday by a Fort Worth, Texas judge, who ruled against enforcing a directive to allow transgender students in U.S. schools to use a bathroom or locker room based on the gender they identify with instead of their biological gender.
The reason the judged blocked the Obama policy was due to the administration failing to follow rule-making procedures and not the underlying issues of students’ rights, as reported by Bloomberg News.
The Obama policy was blocked following a previous temporary block from the U.S. Supreme Court on August 3. As Reuters reported at the time, the Supreme Court put a hold on an order from a lower court which allowed a transgender student in Virginia to use the bathroom of their choice.
While the states that are suing file their motions, and the Department of Justice and Department of Education file counter suits, Republican leaders refer to the blocked policy as the “Obama policy,” thus making him the political target of the fight.
The opposition to Obama’s policy was confirmed by statements made by the governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory. After news of the lawsuit had been reported in the media, the Governor said that by submitting guidelines nationwide which overruled his state’s transgender bathroom bill, President Obama was conducting a social experiment on the American people. McCrory’s communications director, John Ellis, released a statement on the decision.
According to the Bloomberg report, the block on the Obama policy is not permanent. They also added that the judge’s order has nothing to do with the cases that are already in the courts, although reports are saying that the ruling blocks the president’s order nationwide.
US District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas says Obama's administration is misusing Title IX. https://t.co/RXq7qMVVTZ
— Heat Street (@heatstreet) August 22, 2016
Judge Reed O’Connor, who was appointed by the George W. Bush administration, pointed out the complications of the case.
“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 resolution of this difficult policy issue is not however, the subject of this order.”
One of the earliest reports from a local affiliate, NBCDFW, quotes a Dallas attorney for the gay rights group, Lambda Legal, who says that the latest ruling is a continuation of the attacks on gay people.
“I think today is going to be a hard day for transgender students. The decision is certainly emotional and certainly an attack on transgender students’ dignity.”
The Obama administration also responded to the policy being blocked by saying they were disappointed in the decision and would be working to take the next step.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also responded to the decision.
“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, which is why we took action to protect states and school districts.”
The 2016 school year began on Monday. In Texas, Paxton wanted to expedite the case before the school year began as he felt funding for education would be at risk. However, during the beginning of the fight with North Carolina, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said they would not be holding back funding over the transgender bathroom policy, according to USA Today.
Prior to the Obama policy being blocked, the Inquisitr reported on the expediting of the process in the Fort Worth court. Many advocates for transgender rights felt the ruling would result in a win for their cause. But with news that the Obama policy was blocked, the fight over transgender bathroom laws will continue to drag on in the states that disagree with Obama’s policy, while those states that have already established measures to accommodate transgender students will continue to support the new rules.
[Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP Images]