Justice Department Considering Response to Texas Judge's Order Blocking LGBT Directive

Associated Press

Tuesday August 23, 2016

The Justice Department is considering its options, now that a federal judge in Texas has blocked an Obama administration order concerning transgender students in public schools.

The administration had said schools have to let those students use locker rooms and bathrooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. But a judge has put that order on hold -- saying that a federal education law makes it clear that gender is defined by "biological and anatomical differences" at birth.

Judge Reed O'Connor said his order, which applies nationwide, was not about the policy issues of transgender rights but his conclusion that federal officials simply did not follow the rules.

According to O'Connor, the case "presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students' rights and that of personal privacy ... while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school."

The ruling comes as most public schools in Texas begin the new school year today. Texas and 12 other states had challenged the directive as unconstitutional.

An attorney for a gay rights group says the ruling is a continuation of attacks on transgender people. Paul Castillo says it's "a hard day for transgender students."

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