In a move that is sure to bring cheer to anti-transgender activists and the Republican presidential candidates who seek their votes nationwide, the Republican National Committee has approved a resolution endorsing so-called bathroom bills, reports the Washington Blade.
The bill that would be the first of this kind is on the Republican governor’s desk in South Dakota, and similar measures are advancing in other states, where (mostly) GOP lawmakers are attempting to restrict transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
“The Republican National Committee calls on the Department of Education to rescind its interpretation of Title IX that wrongly includes facility use issues by transgender students,” the resolution reads, according to the Blade. The resolution passed quietly last month, and was first noted on Twitter by Time magazine’s Zeke Miller.
Just noticed this RNC resolution from last’s month’s meeting on Title IX and gender identity https://t.co/y9zLeF00vu
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 24, 2016
The resolution characterizes “bathroom bills” as legislation to “protect student privacy”: “The Republican National Committee encourages state legislatures to enact laws that protect student privacy and limit the use of restrooms, locker rooms and similar facilities to members of the sex to whom the facility is designated,” the resolution states.
The resolution rejects the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to prohibit discrimination against transgender students “governmental overreach.”
In contrast to the life experience of transgender individuals around the world, the RNC defines gender as “the physical condition of being male or female,” and it claims gender is irrevocably determined at birth and can be confirmed via a test of DNA.
And in a clear attempt to circumvent pending court battles and statehouse skirmishes, the resolution says the term “gender identity” was not in the language approved by Congress under Title IX. It notes that some courts have ruled the gender provisions of the law don’t apply to transgender students, despite guidance from the Obama administration.
Asked for comment, the Democratic National Committee was swift to condemn what it called Republican “hypocrisy” on this and other issues:
“The GOP can’t find time to consider a Supreme Court nominee, or pass immigration reform, or raise the minimum wage, or enact equal pay for women, but when it comes to attacking trans people, they’ve got all the time in the world,” wrote DNC spokesman T.J. Helmstetter in an email to The Advocate.
“The Republican Party wants to keep government so small it can fit in the bathroom stall with you to check your anatomy. Their hypocrisy and bigotry know no bounds. The Republicans’ legal interpretation of Title IX to exclude trans students underscores exactly how important it is for LGBT people to call their Senators and make sure that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee gets a fair hearing and a vote.”
That process has been threatened by Republican senators who want to wait until a new president is in office before confirming a justice to the Supreme Court. With RNC expecting that its candidate for president will face Hillary Clinton, the resolution criticizes Clinton, who has campaigned for transgender rights. Without naming her, the DNC defended both Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as the president.
“Under President Obama, this has been the most LGBT-affirmative and inclusive administration in history, and our Democratic presidential candidates will ensure that we continue to protect the civil rights of our trans brothers and sisters in the next administration.”
When asked for comment, Gregory T. Angelo of the Log Cabin Republicans told The Advocate in an email, “Clearly Log Cabin Republicans is opposed to any such resolution.”
Just this week, the Human Rights Campaign issued a report detailing an unprecedented 44 anti-trans bills now pending in state legislatures in 16 states across the country. The South Dakota bill has a built-in deadline of Tuesday; if the governor does not sign or veto the measure, it will become law without his signature.