TN commentary on transgender bathroom ruling

A federal judge in Texas today blocked the Obama administration’s order that requires public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. And, naturally, Tennesseans on both sides of the issue are promptly providing media with press releases giving their perspective — just like folks in the rest of the nation.

Here’s a sampler:

From Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery
“Once again a federal district court has prohibited the Administration from unilaterally changing the law without complying with well-settled procedures on Congressional action. Senator Lamar Alexander said it best: “We do not need or want a National school board.” This is a State and local issue. The people should have a voice. Basic privacy rights, especially those of our children, should not be denied in such a far-reaching way by an agency sending a letter and threatening to withhold federal funds.”

From Family Action Council of Tennessee
U.S District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth, Texas, has blocked enforcement of Obama’s bathroom directive in public schools through a preliminary injunction, siding late Sunday with several states, including Tennessee, that had filed a lawsuit to prevent the federal government from forcing schools to allow students to use the bathroom of the sex they identify with.

This is good news for Texas and good news for the Volunteer state.

David Fowler, President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) said, “This is a necessary first step in Tennessee being able to protect the privacy and security of our children when they go to one of our public schools and colleges. This ruling does not prevent a local school from imposing its own policy allowing students to choose the bathroom or locker room of their choice, but this ruling does at least mean that schools are not forced by the federal government to recognize confusion between the sexes.”

From the American Civil Liberties Union-Tennessee
NASHVILLE – A U.S. District Court judge today issued a preliminary injunction against the federal government’s guidance to public school districts regarding their legal responsibility to allow transgender students to use the same restrooms as other students. The ruling came in the multi-state lawsuit, Texas v. United States. Tennessee is a plaintiff in this lawsuit.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee:

“We are very troubled by the court’s misguided decision, which targets vulnerable young people across our state who simply seek to live their lives free from discrimination when they go to school or to the restroom. However, this ruling does not change the fact that transgender students still have the right to go to school without being singled out for differential treatment or discrimination. Tennessee school districts are not only permitted, but required, to treat transgender students fairly. We will continue to fight for the fair treatment of all students in Tennessee.”

From U.S. Rep. Diane Black
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the following statement after a Texas judge temporarily blocked the Obama Administration’s directive requiring public schools to allow students to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity, rather than their gender at birth:

“I applaud the court’s decision to temporarily block this heavy-handed and politically motivated directive that had no right to be forced upon our schools in the first place,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I have long said that a federal government so big and so powerful that it has extended its reach all the way to the school bathroom stall is a government that has lost its way. Tennesseans know that our educators and school administrators are better equipped than any DC bureaucrat to care for the unique needs of their student population, and I am pleased that our state is among those challenging this senseless decree.”

“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,” added Congressman Black. “By forcing young children into situations where they may share a bathroom with someone of the opposite biological sex, the Obama Administration has failed to strike that balance and will put our students at unnecessary risk. We must continue fighting this dangerous and coercive directive on all fronts, which is why I am a cosponsor of legislation invaliding the President’s orders and have sought to defund implementation of these actions through the appropriations process.”