A federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction on Sunday, blocking a directive from the Obama administration that would penalize school districts for not allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, USA Today reports.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a group of two school districts and a dozen other states that opposed the rule. He praised the decision and chastised President Barack Obama.
“This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform,” Paxton said in a statement.
The Obama administration argued that existing anti-gender discrimination laws also protect the rights of transgender students in public schools. But U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush, disagreed.
O’Connor ruled that the “plain meaning of the term sex” in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 means one’s biological gender at birth and does not extend to transgender individuals.
The plaintiffs complained that the Obama administration also overreached its authority by threatening to withhold education funding for failing to follow its transgender guidance.
U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson expressed disappointment and said the Obama administration is looking at its “options,” according to USA Today.
Some transgender rights advocates view the judge’s decision as a temporary setback.
Attorney Paul Castillo with Lambda Legal told the news outlet that the ruling is a “bump in the road” on the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization, is one of five civil rights groups that filed a friend of the court legal brief, siding with the Obama administration.
SOURCE: USA Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter