Thirteen U.S. states ask court to halt
transgender bathroom policy
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[July 07, 2016]
By Julia Harte
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thirteen states
that have sued the Obama administration over its policy on transgender
access to bathrooms asked a federal court in Texas on Wednesday to
prevent the administration from enforcing the policy while their lawsuit
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the motion in U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of the
"Schools are facing the potential loss of funding for simply
exercising the authority to implement the policies that best protect
their students," Paxton said in a statement on Wednesday.
The 13-state coalition's lawsuit is one of several state-based
challenges to the federal government's May directive that public
schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms that
correspond with their gender identity or face the loss of federal
The issue has thrown transgender rights into the national spotlight
and enraged social conservatives who say federal civil rights
protections encompass biological sex, not gender identity.
A Justice Department official told the states' lawyers that the
department opposed the motion, but agreed to respond to it faster
than usual so that the matter could be resolved before the start of
the 2016-17 school year, according to the injunction motion.
The Justice Department declined to comment, "due to pending
litigation." It must respond to the injunction request by July 27,
according to the motion.
The lawsuit is expected to be heard by conservative judges at the
district and appeals court levels, and could end up heading to the
U.S. Supreme Court if the appeals court rules against the Obama
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A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting
transgender bathroom access is seen in the bathroom stalls at the
21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016.
REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo
The Justice Department is also battling North Carolina in federal
court over a North Carolina state law approved in March that
prohibits people from using public restrooms not corresponding to
the sex on their birth certificates.
The Justice Department asked the court in that case to enjoin the
North Carolina law late on Tuesday.
In June, a Virginia school board announced that it would seek
Supreme Court review of a court ruling that gave a transgender
high-school student access to the bathroom of his gender identity.
(Reporting by Julia Harte; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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