With 10 more states filing a lawsuit against the Obama administration's recent directive that all federally funded schools must allow students to use restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities and activities according to their self-proclaimed gender identity, the number of states challenging the "guidance" has risen to 21.
Nebraska, along with nine other states, filed an action in Nebraska federal court challenging the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice's recent mandate changing current Title IX law regarding how schools assign students to showers, locker rooms, and restroom facilities, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced.
In April 2014, the Department of Education claimed that Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition "extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity," which is the basis for the federal directive. "There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at the time of the issuance of the directive in May.
The other nine states that sued the Obama administration include Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Current state law and federal regulations allow schools to maintain separate facilities based upon sex, noted the Nebraska attorney general's website. "The recent action by these two federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms be open to both sexes based solely on the student's choice, circumvents this established law by ignoring the appropriate legislative process necessary to change such a law."
The directive also supersedes local school districts' authority to address student issues on an "individualized, professional and private basis," Peterson's office said. "When a federal agency takes such unilateral action in an attempt to change the meaning of established law, it is incumbent upon those who want to maintain the rule of law to pursue legal clarity in federal court in order to enforce the rule of law."
In May, 11 states and state officials filed a lawsuit challenging the federal guidance. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the federal lawsuit stated that the guidance "has no basis in law" and could cause "seismic changes in the operations of the nation's school districts."
These 11 states included Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, Arizona and Maine.
Rasmussen Reports conducted a national telephone survey in May and found that 51 percent of parents opposed the federal government's directive, versus 33 percent in favor and 16 percent undecided. It also found that a majority of respondents believes that "where students go to the bathroom is really not the business of the federal government."
Matt Sharp, legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom or ADF, said in May that the federal directive "violates the clear meaning of Title IX. It also violates Congressional authority, and state authority on this issue. And, it violates students' rights to privacy."