Alabama asks court to block transgender school bathroom order before kids return to class
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The State of Alabama is coming out swinging against President Barack Obama’s transgender agenda.
Attorney General Luther Strange announced Wednesday that Alabama has joined a coalition of 13 states seeking to block the Obama administration’s recent order that schools must allow students access to restrooms and locker rooms of their gender “identity,” rather than their sex, or lose federal funding.
The states have filed a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court against the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for promoting a federal directive that local schools must allow transgender access to campus restrooms or face a loss of federal funds.
The filing included an affidavit from the Alabama Department of Education detailing the extensive federal funds at risk because of the “illegal order” and the impact the loss of such funds would have on Alabama school children.
“On May 25, I joined a legal challenge to the Obama administration’s restroom mandate,” said Attorney General Strange. “With schools nearing the beginning of a new year, time is short and school administrators need clarity about the impact of this controversial new order on their school systems. Alabama and the other states are asking the federal court to grant a preliminary injunction of the transgender restroom edict until the court has reached a decision on its legality.
“I believe Alabama and the other states will ultimately prevail in federal court against the new restroom order because federal law allows schools to have separate facilities based on the ‘sex’ of the individual, not their gender preference.”
Alabama joined Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin in filing the motion for a preliminary injunction Tuesday.
Four Alabama congressmen have also signed on to a letter demanding President Barack Obama walk back his effort to coerce all public schools around the country to offer gender-neutral bathrooms.
The decision, which the administration claims “gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies,” will affect all of Alabama’s 1,637 public schools that service almost 745,000 children.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
In response, congressmen Bradley Byrne (R-AL1), Robert Aderholt (R-AL4), Mo Brooks (R-AL5) and Gary Palmer (R-AL6) signed on to a letter to President Obama, which reads as follows:
Dear President Obama:
We are extremely concerned with the recent directive from your Administration threatening legal actions against or denial of congressionally appropriated funds to local school districts that do not allow students to use their bathroom of choice regardless of gender. We ask that you rescind your poorly executed threat to school districts across the country and reaffirm their right to govern themselves as they see fit within the bounds of the law.
To date, neither statute nor legal precedent has extended civil rights protections based on gender identity. Furthermore your actions threaten to infringe on the constitutional right of Congress to appropriate funds. We view this as an effort to implement your Administration’s political agenda outside the bounds of the law and against the will of the American people.
We insist that you withdraw this legally unfounded threat immediately.
President Obama defended his plan, telling BuzzFeed News it is society’s duty to protect vulnerable students.
“We’re talking about kids, and anybody who’s been in school, been in high school, who’s been a parent, I think should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority — kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender — are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially they are vulnerable,” Obama said. “I think that it is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they’re protected and that their dignity is affirmed.”