States, Feds file injunction motions in transgender bathroom law cases

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion in district court Wednesday on behalf of 13 states which have joined a lawsuit against the Justice Department (DOJ) to halt the Obama Administration’s order for U.S. public schools to treat transgender students according to the identity of their choice.

In May, the state of Texas challenged the constitutionality of DOJ’s directive and is currently seeking to delay the policy order while the court case is still pending.

The motion for an injunction requires a DOJ response by July 27, which a Department spokesperson told plaintiff’s attorneys will be accommodated in a timely fashion to try and resolve the matter before the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

“Schools are facing the potential loss of funding for simply exercising the authority to implement the policies that best protect their students,” Texas state AG Paxton said in a statement Wednesday.

In related news, DOJ filed a similar motion Tuesday, requesting a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge grant a preliminary injunction to stop the state of North Carolina from enforcing its infamous transgender bathroom law, signed in March.

Two provisions in the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — individuals must use the bathroom that matches the gender stated on their birth certificate in state-owned buildings and gender and sexual orientation discrimination in public places are exempt from legal protections — violate three federal statutes, according to DOJ attorneys.

The DOJ informed three North Carolina executive departments in May that the Act violated civil rights laws.

Specifically, plaintiffs in the case cite Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Violence Against Women Act — all federal laws that prohibit sex and gender-identity discrimination.

On the bill’s bathroom provision alone, plaintiffs argue North Carolina is in violation of Title IX, which specifically outlaws “discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”

“The legal conclusion that discrimination based on sex includes discrimination on account of transgender status is bolstered by an informed understanding of the real-life meaning of the term ‘sex'”, DOJ’s court filing read. “As both science and the Fourth Circuit recognize, an individual’s sex consists of multiple factors, which may not always be in alignment.”

Attorneys for the state of North Carolina responded in a May filing that “whether one is a man or a woman, and entitled to be treated as such, is an objective inquiry, driven by straightforward principles of anatomy and genetics.”

Expect at least one of these two cases to be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court by as early as 2017.

 

[Reuters] [AP via Fox News] [Photo courtesy State of Tennessee/YouTube via lawyerherald.com]