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Federal judge blocks transgender restroom order

Ruling prevents the Obama administration from punishing schools that want to keep restrooms and locker rooms divided based on sex


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, announces the state's lawsuit against the Obama administration in May. Associated Press/Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

Federal judge blocks transgender restroom order

A federal judge in Texas this morning temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s directive forcing schools to allow transgender students to use restroom and locker room facilities based on gender identity, rather than their biological sex.

In his ruling, District Judge Reed O’Connor said the departments of Education and Justice failed to follow the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires advanced notice and a public comment period before issuing such guidelines. He also ruled administration officials issued directives that “contradict the existing legislative and regulatory texts.”

The ruling applies nationwide but not to states with laws directing schools to include gender identity in their definition of sex.

Texas and 12 other states first filed suit against the administration over the ruling issued in May. Ten other states filed a separate lawsuit, bringing to 23 the total number of states challenging the directive. School districts in Virginia and Illinois are fighting individual rulings against them over their treatment of transgender students. And in North Carolina, a judge is considering whether to put on hold a state law that requires restrooms and locker rooms in schools and government buildings to be divided by sex, rather than gender identity.

The Obama administration likely will appeal Reed’s ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative in the nation.


Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.

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