On Friday morning, the Obama administration made good on their promise to send a directive to all public schools, which must now allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. The New York Times forecast the instructions as a “sweeping directive,” which doesn’t carry the power of the law. Rather, this is an interpretation of Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972. Schools are free to defy the entire directive, but they risk the loss of federal funding and could gain lawsuits from transgender students and their families.
This federal move is a direct response to the tidal wave of anti-LGBT bathroom bills. About 20 states — as part of a vast project from Liberty Counsel — have either put laws into place or are in various stages of doing so. This group consists of representatives and attorneys in every state and is led by founder and chairman Mathew Staver. He represented Kim Davis in her fight to stop issuing marriage licenses to LGBT couples in Rowan County, Kentucky. So, it’s no surprise that the Liberty Counsel took up the related cause of banning transgender people from the bathroom of their choice.
Much of the action with these bathroom bills falls into North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory and the federal government now hold dueling lawsuits, which arrived after the feds declared that House Bill 2 violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. In addition, a Virginia school received word of their discriminatory transgender bathroom practices. Obama’s directive seeks to nip all these instances in the bud and applies to public schools in all fifty states.