Some Tennessee Republican politicians have joined other members of the party in bashing a directive from the Obama administration that calls on schools to allow use of bathrooms based on an individual’s “gender identity.”
Republican state Rep. Susan Lynn of Wilson County, who unsuccessfully sponsored a bill in the legislature this year mandating use of school bathrooms based on the gender designated on birth certificates, was focus of a Tennessean story after a Facebook post on the subject. Excerpt:
“Transgenderism is a mental disorder called gender identity disorder — no one should be forced to entertain another’s mental disorder and it is not healthy for the individual with the disorder,” Lynn said in a list of responses to the federal directive.
“We can and we will legistativly (sic) protect children from hormone abuse — a directive has no impact on that issue only the Orwellian redefinition of sex would do that.”
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander news release:
WASHINGTON, May 13 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the Department of Education’s guidance to local school districts regarding transgender student’s use of public bathrooms:
“This is the kind of issue that parents, school boards, communities, students and teachers should be allowed to work out in a practical way with a maximum amount of respect for the individual rights of all students. Insofar as the federal government goes, it’s up to Congress to write the law, not the executive departments. And guidance issued by the departments does not amount to federal law and should not be treated as such.”
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, in a news release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) released the following statement on the Obama administration’s new school bathroom guidance:
“When the national conversation turns to President Obama’s foreign policy failures, or the troubles with the economy, his administration tries to change the narrative in the most disruptive way possible. Once again, President Obama has decided to abuse his executive power to force his personal preferences on all Americans. He is ignoring the legitimate concerns of parents, students, teachers and administrators. This isn’t about equality; it’s about furthering his radical social agenda, and I won’t stand for it. Americans deserve a president who is just as concerned about their safety and success as he is about being politically correct.”
U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Galatin, in a news release:
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) issued the below statement today following the Obama Administration’s plans to issue a sweeping directive related to transgender students and public school restrooms:
“This attempt to bully our local schools into submission to the Obama Administration’s agenda is shameful and a gross abuse of the federal government’s power. It has nothing to do with compassion for minority student populations and everything to do with political opportunism for the next election. We all agree on the rights of students to be treated with dignity and respect, but that right must also exist alongside the rights of students to maintain their privacy and safety in their own schools.
“As a grandmother of young girls, I believe the Obama Administration is now directly responsible for endangering our students. It is worth noting that this directive does not carry the force of law and I would encourage Tennessee school officials to continue following their consciences,” said Congressman Diane Black.
“States like Tennessee should be able to make these decisions for themselves without fear of reprisal from a heavy-handed federal government. That is why, later this year when our appropriations bills come to the House floor, I plan to introduce an amendment barring the Department of Education from withholding funds from states that pass commonsense legislation protecting our children from sharing a bathroom with students of the opposite sex.”
From David Fowler, president of Tennessee Family Action Council:
“President Obama has outdone himself with his latest attempt to violate the right of parents to protect their children, violate the privacy of children, and trample on the Constitution and rule of law by pretending that a “guidance letter” can have the force of law. The thought that a “letter” from a government agency can change the meaning of the word “sex” to “gender identity” in a law passed in 1972 is repugnant to the Constitution and the concept of the rule of law. It is akin to an “edict” from a man who thinks himself a king.
“If this is allowed to go unchallenged, then mere letters from cabinet members will from now on become “law” and members of Congress, who have already been AWOL on this issue, can finally just permanently adjourn. Presidents acting like kings, with cabinet members as henchmen and members of the Supreme Court as consultants, can just rule us.
“We call on Gov. Haslam and Attorney General Slatery to advise our schools across the state that President Obama’s ‘guidance letter’ is not the law and can be disregarded or initiate a federal lawsuit to have the court declare the ‘guidance letter’ for what it is, a letter not a law. If our governor and chief law enforcement officer will not protect the Constitution and rule of law, then they are failing to discharge their constitutional duties, and members of the General Assembly and the public should take notice.”