Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced Tuesday that the Lone Star State will resist the Obama administration’s directive to allow transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom of their choosing, CBS Dallas is reporting.
On Friday, the Obama administration sent a letter to every public school district in the country, telling them to allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, according to NBC News. Schools that defy the order could risk losing their federal funding.
“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 [of the Civil Rights Act].”
The directive comes as some states — North Carolina, in particular — have passed or are considering laws that would require transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex assigned at birth rather than their gender identity.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 13, 2016
The directive does not carry the force of law, however, and the only weapon the federal government has to enforce it is by either withholding federal education money or suing non-compliant school districts in court.
Texas, however, is having none of that.
Speaking to reporters outside the Texas Republican Convention currently underway, Patrick made it clear that the directive could have devastating effects on public education.
“[The Obama administration rule] will be the end of public education if this prevails. People will pull their kids out. Home schooling will explode. Private schools will increase. School choice will pass.”
Patrick then directed Texas school districts to ignore the policy, which he claimed is the biggest issue facing public education since the Supreme Court removed mandated daily prayers in public schools in 1962.
“I’m telling all the superintendents of Texas, you have about three weeks left in the school year, do not enact this policy.”
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) May 13, 2016
The issue of transgender bathroom access is already playing out in different communities in Texas. In April, the mayor of the city of Rockwall tried to pass an ordinance that would require individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex or face a $500 fine. The city council rejected the ordinance.
In Fort Worth, School District Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner issued guidelines allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Patrick blasted the rules and called on Scribner to resign.
Dan Patrick is not the only Texas Republican gearing up for a fight with the Obama administration over transgender bathroom access. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Governor Greg Abbott has been in talks with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory about jointly suing the Obama administration over the issue.
“Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues. I want you to know, I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are going to fight back. Our country is in crisis, and Texas must lead the way forward.”
Supporters of laws requiring individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex insist that they are necessary to keep voyeurs, sexual predators, and other perverts out of bathrooms, especially bathrooms used by children.
However, the LGBTQ community insists that such laws force transgender individuals into situations where they themselves may be vulnerable to assault. Further, LGBTQ rights activists claim that children are far more likely to be harmed by someone of the same sex in a bathroom than they are to be victimized by a transgender individual.
Do you support Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and his challenge of the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom access rules?
[Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images]