Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced on Friday that ten additional states will sue the federal government over its directive on transgender students’ bathroom use.
The states named in the lawsuit include Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Eleven other states filed a lawsuit in Texas challenging the federal government on the same issue in May, shortly after the administration issued a directive to schools saying that transgender students should be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
Peterson said that those actions bypassed states’ legislative processes. “The recent action by these two federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms be open to both sexes based solely on the student’s choice, circumvents this established law by ignoring the appropriate legislative process necessary to change such a law,” he said.
Policies on transgender people using public restrooms have become a point of contention between federal officials, who have issued statements in support of the transgender community, and some state lawmakers who have created policies barring transgender people from using the bathroom that is consistent with their gender identity.
North Carolina, one of the states named in the first federal lawsuit, had passed House Bill 2 in March, a state law that mandated transgender people to use the bathroom consistent with the sex listed on their birth certificate.
The bill drew criticism from LGBTQ advocates and allies along with the Justice Department, which announced in early May it would sue North Carolina over the law.
“This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” Lynch said in a public address. “This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them – indeed, to protect all of us. And it’s about the founding ideals that have led this country – haltingly but inexorably – in the direction of fairness, inclusion and equality for all Americans.