Social conservatives and proponents of federalism are cheering the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Obama policy requiring public schools to open their showers, lockers and restrooms to transgender students and personnel according to their gender identity, but the fight is far from over.
The battle now shifts to a U.S. Supreme Court case, state supreme courts and countless school districts around the country, but Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver says this week’s Justice Department ruling is critical.
“Removing this lawless directive from the Obama administration will do a lot to get the federal government off the backs of these local schools,” said Staver, who says the Obama order put girls at great risk by placing them in vulnerable situations with biological males.
He says the backlash by liberals and the media is unreasonable.
“There’s such a big backlash about this in the liberal media, like there’s something horrible that he did. Frankly, he’s just following the law. The law does not include gender identity, or sexual orientation, or gender expression – or whatever you want to say – to the non-discrimination categories,” said Staver.
Staver noted that Congress has rejected such efforts to amend Title IX to expand the application of non-discrimination policies. He further stated that the authors of Title IX and the 1964 Civil Rights Act had no intention of extending such protections.
Despite the Trump administration’s move, the Supreme Court may soon weigh in the issue. On March 28, the eight justices will hear arguments in a high profile case out of Virginia. Gavin Grimm, a biological female who identifies as male, is in a legal battle with the Gloucester County Schools.
Hear the interview:
However, Staver now believes the high court may defer on the issue as a result of Trump’s actions.
“It’s possible that the court may simply punt on this and dismiss the case because of this new development. One of the questions before the Supreme Court is should they give deference to the administrative agencies for interpreting the statute. That administrative agency has gone back to the original intent of the statute,” said Staver.
The Trump administration’s decision also impacts Staver directly.
“This comes at a good time for a case that I’m arguing next week before the Virginia Supreme Court. In the next few days, I’ll argue before the Virginia Supreme Court on the Fairfax County case,” said Staver.
“That’s a school board in Northern Virginia that, on its own, included gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression to its policies. Virginia doesn’t allow that. It has to be set at the state level,” said Staver.
“Our case deals with something that many states have and that is that these non-discrimination categories have to be set at the state level, not at the local level. You don’t want to have different policies at the state, county and local level all conflicting with one another,” said Staver.
He says the battle is playing out around the United States.
“Just a few days ago, the Arkansas Supreme Court came down with the same thing. Fayettevile added gender identity to its non-discrimination policy. The Arkansas Supreme Court said, no, you can’t do that. It has to be set at the state level. That’s exactly what I’m arguing at the Virginia Supreme Court,” said Staver.
Even more battles on this and other key issues will play out at school board meetings around the country.
Staver urges people to get active at the local level.
“It’s very important to get involved with the local school board because you can stop these policies before they occur. That’s the first line of defense,” said Staver.
“You need good people at the school board, not just for these policies but for other things as well. We need good Christians and people of moral values to be on these school boards all across the country.”