Texas becomes second state to sue Federal Government over “bathroom bill.”
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will file a lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of nearly a dozen states following its directive ordering public schools to allow transgender students access to restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
Arizona. Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are all joining Texas in the lawsuit, Politico reports.
Paxton announced the legal challenge Wednesday afternoon during a press conference, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott – who just last week told constituents at his party’s state convention that they would look to adopt legislation similar to North Carolina’s in regards to transgender bathroom access – took to Twitter this morning to applaud the move.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 25, 2016
“His lawsuit is challenging the way that the Obama administration is trampling the United States Constitution,” Abbott added to reporters later in the day.
“Defendants have conspired to turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” the lawsuit reads.
The directive, announced earlier this month, requires public schools to protect transgender students from harassment and allow them to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with the gender they identify with, regardless of the biological construct their birth certificate corroborates.
While not legally binding, the Obama administration made their announcement as a national response to the lawsuit and counter-suit the state of North Carolina and Department of Justice (DOJ) have filed against each other, respectively, over the infamous “Bathroom Bill,” formerly known as Hb2, which requires that transgender people in the state use the bathroom corresponding to the gender which appears on their birth certificate.
The DOJ had said previously that they found the bill and others related to be in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The directive has drawn a harsh backlash from Republican governors, and today’s announcement of legal action is the latest manifestation of the polarization this issue has drawn across party lines. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, himself an ardent defender of legalized discrimination against LGBT people, Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson, and Kentucky’s Matt Bevin have all made public statements deploring the federal government’s decision, and GOP lawmakers in Oklahoma even introduced a measure calling for Obama’s impeachment.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Obama is blackmailing Republican states in response to federal obstructionism in Congress, that the st ate was prepared to forfeit “potentially billions of dollars,” and that LGBT rights in Texas is a “modern day ‘come and take it’ moment in Texas.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.