10 More States Sue Federal Government Over Transgender Bathroom Rules

A total of 23 states are now suing the feds over this.

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/s/bathroom+sign/search.html?page=1&thumb_size=mosaic&inline=316937825">Sutichak</a>/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Ten more states sued the federal government Friday over a rule allowing transgender kids to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity—rather than the sex listed on their birth certificates—in public schools. They join a group of 13 other states already suing the Obama administration over the same mandate.

A May 13 directive from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, which does not carry the force of law, said schools that forced transgender kids to use bathrooms matching their birth sex would be violating Title IX and could lose federal funding.

“The recent action by federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms to be open to both sexes based solely on the student’s choice, circumvents… established law,” wrote Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.

The lawsuit filed Friday is being brought by the states of Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. They argue the Obama administration’s directive was an overreach and a misinterpretation of Title IX.

“The recent action by these two federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms to be open to both sexes based solely on the student’s choice, circumvents this established law,” Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson wrote in a statement. “It also supersedes local school districts’ authority to address student issues on an individualized, professional and private basis. When a federal agency takes such unilateral action in an attempt to change the meaning of established law, it leaves state and local authorities with no other option than to pursue legal clarity in federal court in order to enforce the rule of law.”

On May 25, another lawsuit was filed against the federal government over the same directive by the states of Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, and Georgia; the governor of Maine; the Arizona Department of Education; and school districts in Texas and Arizona. Kentucky and Mississippi later signed on to that lawsuit.

The Obama administration argues that transgender kids are already a vulnerable minority and that blocking them from bathrooms of their choice is discriminatory.

“We’re talking about kids, and anybody who’s been in school, been in high school, who’s been a parent, I think should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority—kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender—are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially they are vulnerable,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed defending the directive.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.