Within hours of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s confirmation, the Department of Justice put a wrench in the Department’s ongoing defense of President Obama’s guidance on fairness for transgender students, sending a troubling hint that the new Administration may be taking a different course.
All students, including transgender students, should have a fair chance to learn and succeed in school without the fear of discrimination. Equality Federation joins the call for President Trump to reconsider and direct the DOJ to uphold the guidance protecting transgender students.
Donald Trump once said he would defend the rights of LGBTQ Americans but has surrounded himself with a team of people who are notorious for their anti-LGBTQ activism and philanthropy. Equality Federation stood in solidarity with the broad, diverse opposition to Senator Sessions for Attorney General due to his history of opposing fairness, freedom, and justice for all. He has a record of opposing LGBTQ equality, making racist statements, and acting as a barrier to progress for people of color, women, immigrants and other communities.
It is important to know that federal law has not changed and will not change if the guidance is revoked. School districts across the country must still comply with the law. This means that schools that have protected the rights of transgender students should continue to do so and schools that have discriminated against transgender students will still face liability in court.
The Washington Blade Reported:
On the day after Jeff Sessions was confirmed as U.S. attorney general, the U.S. Justice Department has withdrawn its request to halt partially an order against Obama administration guidance protecting transgender students from school discrimination and assuring them to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.
The request for a partial stay was filed on Nov. 23 before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to an order from U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush-appointed judge who instituted a nationwide order prohibiting the federal government from enforcing the guidance. The judge ruled the Obama administration overextended its authority by applying the provision against sex discrimination in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to transgender students.
The brief from the Obama administration sought a partial stay so the ruling would only apply to the 12 states, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed the lawsuit against the guidance as litigation proceeded before the Fifth Circuit. The plaintiff states are Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia as well as the Arizona Department of Education and Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on behalf of their states.