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NC Gov.: Feds Lack Authority to Set Policy for Transgender Students

Pat McCrory
Gov. Pat McCrory

Pat McCrory lashes out at the Obama administration's directive.


The Obama administration's letter explaining public school districts' obligations to their transgender students is "massive executive branch overreach, which clearly oversteps constitutional authority," says North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

McCrory, whose state recently passed anti-transgender legislation known as House Bill 2, made the statement in a press release posted on his website.

"President Obama's administration has instituted federally mandated edicts that affect employees as well as every parent and child within a public school system," McCrory said of the letter, in which the Education and Justice Departments direct school districts to treat transgender students according to their gender identity, including allowing them access to the single-sex facilities that match their identity.

"This national bathroom, locker room and shower policy for almost every business, university and now K-12 school in our country changes generations of gender etiquette and privacy norms which parents, children and employees have expected in the most personal and private settings of their everyday lives," McCrory continued.

He demanded that federal courts and Congress "intercede to stop this massive executive branch overreach, which clearly oversteps constitutional authority." The executive branch, he said, "does not have the authority to be the final arbiter" concerning the matter.

HB 2, passed in March in a special session, bars transgender people from using the restrooms, locker rooms, and other gender-segregated facilities that comport with their gender identity, when these facilities are located in government buildings, including public schools and state universities. It also prevented cities and counties from enacting or enforcing any civil rights ordinances that include sexual orientation or gender identity; it was designed especially to prevent one from going into effect in Charlotte.

The law further bars North Carolinians from suing for discrimination in state courts and municipalities from setting a higher minimum wage than the state's.

This week North Carolina sued the federal goveryment challenging its position that federal civil rights law bans discrimination based on gender identity, and the feds sued North Carolina in an effort to stop its enforcement of the anti-trans restroom policy.

The letter going out today to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities that receive federal funding affirms that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, in banning sex discrimination, also bans gender identity discrimination. "A student's sex is determined by the student's gender identity," it states.

"This means that a school must not treat transgender students differently from the way it treats other students of the same sex," the draft letter continues. "For example, a school must treat transgender female students the same way it treats other female students."

Federal funding is generally tied to a school's compliance with Title IX and other federal laws. Some schools have been granted exemptions from compliance, usually on religious grounds.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that the government will not withhold funding from North Carolina while the lawsuits make their way through the courts.

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