10 More States Sue Obama Administration Over Federal Directive Allowing Trans Students To Use Bathrooms

A suit filed Friday in federal court means nearly half of all states are suing over federal guidelines protecting trans kids.

Ten more states have filed suit against the Obama Administration, challenging the president’s directive ordering public schools nationwide to allow students to use the bathroom and locker room that matches their gender identity.

Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming filed suit today in federal district court in Nebraska against the Education Department, Justice Department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Labor Department.

According to Politico, that means nearly half of all 50 states are suing over the issue, suggesting the issue is head to the Supreme Court.

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In May, the administration stated transgender students were protected from discrimination under Title IX of the 1963 Civil Rights Act, meaning trans kids had a right to use facilities that align with their gender identities.

“The desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students,” read a joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice.

That same month, Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia—plus the Arizona Department of Education and the governor of Maine—all filed suit, with Kentucky joining soon after.

Kentucky flag map

“The federal government has no authority to dictate local school districts’ bathroom and locker room policies,” said Kentucky governor Matt Bevin. “The Obama administration’s transgender policy ’guidelines’ are an absurd federal overreach into a local issue.”

In Michigan, at least one parent withdrew his son from school until the policy is revoked.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson insists the law allow schools to maintain separate facilities “based upon sex.”

“The recent action by these two federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms be open to both sexes based solely on the student’s choice, circumvents this established law by ignoring the appropriate legislative process necessary to change such a law.”

According to the ACLU, however the administrations guidelines are just that—guidelines—and aren’t legally binding, and therefore not open to a lawsuit.

“Disagreeing with the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law doesn’t give them standing to sue over it,” said Joshua Block of the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery