FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Texas asked for an injunction Friday to stop federal plans to allow transgender students to use school bathrooms according to their gender identity.
Texas was among 13 states that sued the U.S. Department of Education over guidelines instructing schools to not discriminate on the basis of gender identity. The suit says the Obama administration has no constitutional authority to dictate to states on the issue of bathroom access. The federal government, when it issued the guidelines in May, wrote that denying transgender students access to bathrooms of their choosing violates Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex at institutions receiving federal funding.
The first hearing on the lawsuit is being held Friday in Fort Worth.
Schools must treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex, for purposes of Title IX compliance, the guidelines say. While the guidelines do not have the force of law, they include the power to deny funding to school districts if violated, and although Title IX was not amended to include “gender identity,” the term has been added to “sex” in other federal legislation regarding sexual discrimination.
Besides Texas, the states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. A similar suit was later filed by Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
The federal guidelines were issued days after the Justice Department sued North Carolina over a state law requiring the state’s residents to use public restrooms according to their gender at birth.