PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona’s top education official, Diane Douglas, called the recent decree from President Obama on transgender “rights” in schools “yet another example of federal overreach negatively impacting our state’s schools.”
Obama recently issued a decree through the U.S. Department of Education and the Justice Department that threatens to remove federal funding from schools that do not allow transgender students to use whatever school facilities – male or female – they choose.
Douglas, along with many other school officials, governors, Congressman and state lawmakers, believe the president has no right to force schools to allow biologically male students in female bathrooms or locker rooms, and vice versa.
“Every local community across Arizona is unique, and I know that the people who live in those communities should be making the decisions when it comes to this and many other education issues,” Douglas said in a statement, according to The Republic. “My office would never dictate how locally elected school boards should manage their restroom facilities, and certainly would not do so under the threat of lost funding.”
Arizona state Senate President Andy Biggs, who is running for Congress, agrees with Douglas.
“Not only does this directive run afoul of the Tenth Amendment, but it has no place in the value system that we seek to instill in our children from their earliest age,” he said in a statement. “The rules and norms of modern society may change, but biology will not – nor do the Constitutional rights of states.”
Obama’s “guidance” on transgender issues sent to all of the nation’s schools on Friday details “emerging practices” on transgender school issues that essentially mandate that schools must manage access to all facilities based on students’ “gender identity” rather than birth sex, the Washington Times reports.
The 25-pages of “guidelines” are aimed at countering state-approved policies that direct schools or other public institutions to base decisions on biological sex, such as a recent law approved in North Carolina.
The Obama administration sued North Carolina last week over its recently approved law, which the president alleges violates civil rights laws.
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“The president is turning the Constitution on its head,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Fox News on Monday. “We are in the waning months of the Obama presidency, and he’s trying to cram down as many parts of his liberal agenda on the United States of America as he possibly can.”
Abbott also warned that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, Americans can expect more of the same.
“Hillary is nothing more than an extension of the Obama agenda,” he said. “If Hillary is elected, it will lead to America taking a left turn from which we may not be able to return.
“Each branch of our federal government is broken because they strayed from their constitutional role. We need to get the country back onto its constitutional design.”
Numerous other folks have condemned Obama’s transgender decree on moral grounds, as well.
Two prominent Catholic bishops on Monday spoke out against the federal government’s meddling.
“The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats ‘a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex’ is deeply disturbing,” Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, and Archbishop George Lucas, said in a joint statement, according to the Washington Times. “The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that ‘the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created.’”
The bishops also allege the goal of the president’s “guidance” is to circumvent a real discussion about transgender issues as a society.
“It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how to address these sensitive issues,” the bishops wrote. “Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.”
Transgender parents and advocates, meanwhile, are applauding the president’s unilateral decision to impose a national transgender policy.
“It feels extremely good to have the backing of the federal government when so often the opposite has been the case,” Josef Wolf Burwell, board member of TransSpectrum of Arizona, told The Republic.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told The New York Times the president was “not just aware of these policy deliberations but in the loop as the decisions were being made to ensure that the guidance reflected the president’s values and the president’s preferences.”
Obama also defended his directive.
“We said, ‘It is our view that you should try to treat these kids with dignity,’” the president said, according to The New York Times. “There are schools districts who have been wrestling with this problem and have, we think, done a good job in accommodating them in a way that is good for everybody, and so you can learn from these best practices. That is what we are advising.”
The “advising,” of course, comes with a thinly-veiled threat of the loss of federal Title IX funding for schools that don’t comply.
Obama also acknowledged that the law, and his directive, may not be aligned.
“Ultimately, depending on how these other lawsuits go, courts will affirm or reject how we see the issue,” he said, according to The New York Times.