President Obama says his order to public schools, through two federal agencies, to open their rest rooms and changing facilities to users based on their “perceived” gender is based on the biblical Golden Rule.
The order instantly drew criticism, and within days Texas led a coalition of states suing the federal agencies, contending the order has no connection to federal law. Ohio, a key presidential-election swing state, hasn’t yet joined the action, but the state’s attorney general has made it clear that isn’t out of the question.
Defending the order at a PBS town hall, Obama said it’s based on the Golden Rule, which is to treat others as they want to be treated.
“And my answer is that we should deal with this issue the same way we’d want it dealt with if it was our child,” he said. “And that is to try to create an environment of some dignity and kindness for these kids, and that’s sort of the bottom line. I have to just say what’s in my heart, but I also have to look at what’s the law. And my best interpretation of what our laws and our obligations are is that we should try to accommodate these kids so they’re not in a vulnerable situation.”
He continued,: “Look, I have profound respect for everybody’s religious beliefs on this, but if you’re in a public school, children are to be treated with kindness. That’s all.
“My reading of Scripture tells me that that Golden Rule is pretty high up there in terms of my Christian belief,” Obama said. “As president of the United States, those are are (sic) the values that I think are important.”
His administration threatened to withhold federal school funding from districts that do not comply with the order.
Undaunted, Texas officials already have instructed their districts to ignore Obama’s order and warned that any loss of school funding would immediately impact federally subsidized school lunches for the most needy of students.
“Transgender students deserve the rights of anyone else. It does not mean they get to use the girls’ room if they’re a boy,” one state official commented.
Obama did not address the vast majority of students who don’t claim a gender perception problem but whose privacy would be impaired by allowing boys into girls’ showers and girls into boys’ showers.
The dispute puts states in direct conflict with Obama again, as they have been over immigration and other issues.
Critics have charged Obama is threatening the safety of students and trying to blackmail states with his threat to withhold federal funding for schools.
“This lawsuit is challenging the way that the Obama administration is trampling the United States Constitution,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
White House officials describe the issue as a civil rights matter, but critics argue Obama’s mandate sacrifices the privacy of hundreds of millions for the lifestyle preference of a few.
DeWine told the federal bureaucrats that their letter’s demand that schools allow males to change clothes and shower in rooms for females if they say they are female lacks validity.
“As the chief law officer of the state of Ohio, I write to advise you that this judgment of the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter is wrong, both in its elitist disregard for our 21st century communities and as a matter of law. … Our state and our communities are much better equipped on these matters than even the most well intentioned federal ‘principal deputy assistant attorney general’ or ‘assistant secretary’ to advance the important dignity and privacy interests of every student – of all students – at a school in our state.”
“It is not law,” he wrote. “Here, Congress has not enacted a federal decree along the lines the letter advocates, and I am not aware that the administration has even proposed such legislation.”
He pointed out the order has not even gone through the minimal requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
“If your departments act against our state contrary to law, I will defend vigorously the interests of the state of Ohio. … The federal government does not need and is not empowered to make every decision for every social institution in our country: There are many, many questions that, consistent with constitutional guarantees, are best left to the decent, commonsense judgment of individuals and communities at the state and local level.”
FRC earlier poked fun at Obama with a video suggesting he has bathrooms on the brain.
“So … while ISIS is infiltrating America … President Obama seems confused about human biology. While Russia taunts our military … President Obama is fighting for men to access to women’s locker rooms. While Iran and North Korea fire ballistic missiles … President Obama is demanding grown men have the right to use women’s bathrooms,” the video states.
“Who knows what’s next? President Obama could issue an executive order wiping out single gendered bathrooms in national parks … or in federal buildings … or tell the TSA to stop requiring those who fly to declare their biological sex. It’s absurd.”