Weeks after the Obama administration delivered a sweeping directive which ordered public schools to allow transgender students to pee where they please, several states have continued to freak out. Obama was essentially flipping the bird at the glut of anti-LGBT bathroom bills, which the Liberty Counsel had set into motion in around 20 states. These laws began to invade school bathrooms, so Obama sent out his “dear colleague” letter. Subsequent arguments of executive overreaching don’t hold much water because directive isn’t law. Yet it does threaten the withdrawal of federal funding, so schools can’t simply ignore the guidelines without consequence.
Texas leaders swiftly raised a ruckus, and Governor Greg Abbott accused Obama of rewriting the Civil Rights Act. He then compared trans bathroom rights to the moon landing while vowing to fight back, and Oklahoma created a fine mess by declaring a state of emergency. Now more states have joined the negative chorus. On Wednesday, 11 states — Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas. West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Utah — joined forces in a North Texas federal court. Together, they say the Obama directive turns schools into a laboratory experiment without thinking of the children. The New York Times quotes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who goes ahead and uses the overreaching argument even though Obama didn’t issue an executive order:
“This represents just the latest example of the current administration’s attempts to accomplish by executive fiat what they couldn’t accomplish through the democratic process in Congress. By forcing through his policies by executive action, President Obama excluded the voice of the people. We stand today to ensure those voices are heard.”
This isn’t the first lawsuit over LGBT bathroom rights. North Carolina and the feds are still waving dueling legal claims at each other. And there’s no hope of the Liberty Counsel and its allies ever opening their eyes. Trans people have a legitimate beef against those who wish to lump them into the same category as predators. And the other side doesn’t appear to notice that religious liberty shouldn’t extend to trampling upon an entire group’s civil rights.
Greg Abbott is pleased as punch right now, but his Twitter replies are serving some comeuppance. Not that he will listen to them.