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Texas judge blocks federal transgender restroom policy

By Ed Adamczyk
Texas judge blocks federal transgender restroom policy
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led the fight, involving 12 other states, against federal guidlines regarding use of school restrooms by transgender students. Monday a Fort Worth judge issued a preliminary injunction against the guidelines. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A judge issued a preliminary national injunction blocking federal transgender guidelines for public schools.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of Fort Worth, Texas, said in a ruling issued late Sunday that federal officials did not follow procedures in creating the guidelines, and that the guidelines conflict with current statutes and regulations. In issuing the injunction, O'Connor sided with 13 states, including Texas, who maintain federal directives issued in May by the U.S. Department of Education unfairly supplant local school control and threaten student safety.

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The 38-page preliminary injunction, coming at the start of the school year, is a blow to the Obama administration's principle that transgender students should use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

The ruling Sunday comes after the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked an order on Aug. 3 allowing a transgender student to use the boys' restrooms in a Gloucester County, Va., high school. The school district said boys' restrooms were reserved for "biological males."

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Federal officials argued any interpretation of "sex" in anti-discrimination legislation also includes sexual identity, and noted the states' lawsuit was filed before any school action was taken.

O'Connor said that the Texas case involved failure of the federal administration to follow rule-making procedures, and was less a case of students' rights.

"This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students' rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school. The resolution of this difficult policy issue is not, however, the subject of this order," O'Connor wrote.

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We are pleased that the court ruled against the Obama Administration's latest illegal federal overreach," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said after the ruling was announced. "This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform. That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect states and school districts, who are charged under state law to establish a safe and disciplined environment conducive to student learning."

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