On Friday, August 12th, a federal court in Forth Worth Texas will hear arguments in State of Texas v. United States, a lawsuit that is a clear attack on transgender people with the sole purpose of enshrining discrimination into the law.
Our partners at Freedom For All Americans break it down: “The lawsuit, filed by the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and officials from several other states – including Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Maine – challenges the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. For several years now, several federal agencies (the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Health & Human Services) have interpreted Title VII and Title IX’s prohibitions on “sex discrimination” to include discrimination based on gender identity.”
Most recently, the Department of Education with vocal support from President Obama issued guidance for ensuring transgender students have a fair opportunity to participate and succeed in school. This lawsuit seeks to block enforcement of that guidance and block federal agencies from recognizing anti-transgender discrimination for what it is.
The outcome of this lawsuit does not change the fact that transgender Americans are currently living, working, and attending schools throughout the country, and they receive tremendous support from teachers, employers, colleagues, and neighbors who know them and understand what it means to be transgender. Across the country, schools and employers are already treating transgender students and workers equally by implementing inclusive policies, and they will continue to do so. We are confident that justice will be served and transgender Americans will be assured their constitutional rights by the courts, echoing a majority of Americans who support nondiscrimination protections for transgender people and who are seeking to do the right thing.
The many moving pieces in the courts and multiple lawsuits underscores a critical need to ensure that transgender protections are permanently codified into state and federal law. Protection from discrimination is too foundational and important a value to leave to the discretion of individual judges or jurisdictions. States must continue to work to update their own nondiscrimination laws to include transgender people and make those protections permanent through statute.
Whatever the short-term outcome of this case, it is likely that the federal judge’s ruling will be appealed, kicking off a long process in the courts. If an injunction is issued, the government may not just appeal it, but also stay the decision. In that time, LGBT organizations nationwide will continue the vital work of educating Americans about who transgender people are, why nondiscrimination protections are important, and how people are helped and no one is hurt by these critical protections.
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