11 states to sue over Obama administration's transgender directive

Texas announced plans to sue the Obama administration over its policy to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their identity. Photo by torbakhopper/Flickr

Texas and 10 other states plan to sue the Obama administration over a directive to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity, state politicians said Wednesday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to announce the lawsuit in a news conference today, following through on the conservative state's vow to defy the guidance issued by the Justice and Education Departments earlier this month.

The lawsuit also includes Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Louisiana, Utah, Arizona and Georgia.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted hours before Paxton's conference that "Texas will sue to stop Obama's transgender directive to schools." At a book signing today, Abbott said the legal challenge is a response to Obama "trampling" the Constitution, the Associated Press reported.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Texas was willing to lose billions of dollars in federal education money over the civil rights issue, and repeatedly has said the federal government overreached with its guidelines.

"We will not back down from blackmail by the president of the United States," Patrick said in response to the federal directive in mid-May.

Video by Dallas Morning News

Patrick also decried recent revisions to Fort Worth's anti-bullying policies, which added new rules to accommodate transgender students. Patrick called for the Fort Worth schools superintendent to be fired.

The federal government's guidelines were issued after Justice Department officials deemed North Carolina's bathroom bill a violation of federal civil rights laws, including Title IX, which bars discrimination based on sex.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that while most Americans don't know a transgender person, 40 percent of people surveyed said trans people should be allowed to use a public restroom that corresponded to their gender identity.

The poll also showed that 30 percent said they should be legally barred from using the public restroom, while 29 percent had no opinion.

When asked whether the government ought to interfere, a plurality of 49 percent opposed their involvement, while 28 percent supported it.

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