Monday, May 16, 2016

Obama's Title IX Power Grab Inflames the Culture Wars

It's actually sickening.

The country's barreling toward civil war.

At Politico, "Obama transgender edict incites the right":

While the Obama administration’s directive on bathroom access for transgender students was praised by supporters as a historic moment for civil rights, the sweeping new rules have re-energized the right — and a top lawmaker in Texas even argues that Donald Trump can use the issue as a springboard to the White House.

The right has been consistently losing culture-war fights in the courts during the Obama era, most significantly in the Supreme Court case last year that legalized gay marriage. Now, conservative governors, state officials, education advocates and parent groups have extra motivation to unify in their revolt against a federal intervention directed by a president they loathe that will affect every public school in the nation.

“I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared Friday, mere hours after the Obama administration’s letter was released.

The departments of Education and Justice wrote to public school districts across America on Friday, spelling out in specific terms President Barack Obama’s interpretation that transgender students are afforded sweeping civil rights protections under Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in educational programs and activities. That includes allowing transgender students access to bathrooms, locker rooms and other school facilities that align with their gender identity — a position that social conservatives find deeply offensive.

“With this guidance, the Education and Justice departments are making it crystal clear what schools’ obligations to transgender students are under federal law,” said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project. “It’s about time schools understand that transgender students are fully protected.”

As it has done in its legal standoff with North Carolina over that state’s law blocking protections for gay and transgender individuals, the administration threatened Friday to withhold federal education dollars from schools, districts or states that fail to heed the order. But since the administration’s directive amounts to guidance and not a legal requirement, the debate is far from settled. In fact, the real fight has only just begun, and both sides are digging in for what promises to be a long, nasty and emotional struggle of politics, policy and law — one that appears poised to ultimately land before the Supreme Court...
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