WICHITA FALLS, TX – A Texas federal judge ruled last week that federal entities must stop enforcing guidelines which interpret the word “sex” as “gender” in federal statutes such as Title VII and Title IX. The decision by Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of Texas applies nationwide. It bars the U.S. Justice Department enforcing the directives on transgender use of public facilities that it sent to thousands of public schools and managers of public buildings.On May 13, 2016, the Obama administration sent a letter to every public school district ordering all schools that receive federal funds to classify students based on the gender they identify with regardless of what’s listed on their birth certificates. The directive stated that schools could face lawsuits or the loss of federal aid unless they allow students to use the multi-stalled bathrooms and locker rooms that match their “gender identity,” as opposed to allowing them to use a single-stalled gender neutral bathroom, as many schools have done. O’Connor issued an injunction on it just prior to school starting in August, following up with the October 21 decision.”It is clear from Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit precedent that this Court has the power to issue a nationwide injunction where appropriate. Both Title IX and Title VII rely on the consistent, uniform application of national standards in education and workplace policy. A nationwide injunction is necessary because the alleged violation extends nationwide,” O’Connor wrote. “Should the Court only limit the injunction to the plaintiff states who are a party to this cause of action, the Court risks a ‘substantial likelihood that a geographically-limited injunction would be ineffective.'” The judge left open the question of whether his order limits Labor Department enforcement of similar policies. The Government Services Administration (GSA) also issued a regulation declaring that transgender employees and visitors must be allowed to use the multi-stalled bathrooms that match their “gender identity.” The policy by the GSA, which manages more than 9,000 federal building and offices in more than 2,000 cities nationwide, applied to federal courthouses and offices such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Obama administration also sought to impose “gender identity” into Title VII, thus applying to employers, public and private.”We applaud the court’s order that bars the Obama administration from imposing its unlawful LGBT agenda on schools, government agencies and private employers,” said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman. “These ridiculous LGBT policies are harmful and defy common sense. The Obama directive is a lawless act,” said Staver.Judge O’Connor made clear in the ruling that his decision applies only to “intimate facilities” and not to other discrimination against transgender students.”The court’s reaffirmation of a nationwide injunction should send a clear message to the president that Texas won’t sit idly by as he continues to ignore the Constitution. The president cannot rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people and then threaten to take away funding from schools to force them to fall in line,” said Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the suit against the Obama administration’s directive on behalf of 13 states including Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin. An appeal from the administration to the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected this week. Meanwhile earlier this year, the Supreme Court stayed a lower court decision that allowed a transgender Virginia student to use the boys bathroom until the justices could decide whether or not to take up the case. Should the 5th circuit uphold the Texas injunction and the Supreme Court deadlock on the Virginia case, legal analysts say that it could shift power to the district court level, affecting cases nationwide. The ruling comes just after California Governor Jerry Brown received praise from the LGBT community for signing state legislation that permits single-stalled public restrooms to be gender neutral but does not apply to multi-stalled facilities.
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