July/August 2016 Church & State - July/August 2016

States Sue Federal Government Over Transgender Policy

  AU admin

The attorneys general of 11 states have filed suit against the Obama administration over its announcement that transgender students are protected by federal gender equality legislation.

Officials in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin filed the suit in a Texas court in May. (Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant ordered the state to join the State of Texas v. United States lawsuit, but its attorney general has said he will not take part in the litigation.)

The move comes after the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice announced that a federal law intended to prohibit discrimination in education applies to transgender students in public school districts. Schools that fail to accommodate these students risk losing federal funding.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

In related news, Alliance Defending Freedom, a large Religious Right legal group, is suing a school district in Palatine, Ill., arguing that its policy of allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that conforms with their gender identity violates the religious freedom rights of other students. (Students and Parents for Privacy v. U.S. Department of Education)

Americans United’s Legal Department is monitoring both lawsuits.

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