Republicans push bill to nix protections for trans students

Indiana Congressman Luke Messer

Indiana Congressman Luke Messer Associated Press

On Wednesday, Indiana Republican Rep. Luke Messer took the first congressional step to impede new guidelines by the Obama Administration, directing schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender with which they identify.

The Indianapolis Star reports Messer’s bill aims to block the federal Departments of Education and Justice from making good on their threat to stop federal funding for schools that don’t follow the guidelines.

Decisions on school policy, said Messer in a statement, “should be made at the state and local level by people who will put the interest of our kids ahead of political ideology.” He added:

“It’s irresponsible for the Obama administration to begin this social experiment in the bathrooms of our nation’s elementary schools.”

Messer’s bill comes after a split reaction from Indiana’s leaders. The state school superintendent praised the Obama directive, according to the Star, while notoriously anti-LGBT Republican Gov. Mike Pence trashed it, telling the paper, “the federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.”

At present, no schools are in danger of losing any funding, as the White House has announced it will not take action while the courts decide dueling lawsuits in North Carolina.

Joining that fight is legal legend Ted Olsen, one of the attorneys who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush vs. Gore and was victorious in overturning California‘s Proposition 8.

Time reported he is adding his voice against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, House Bill 2, by writing a friend-of-the-court brief for those companies opposed to the measure.

“HB2 discriminates against fellow citizens because of who they are,” said Olson in a written statement. “This law directly challenges the legitimacy of the identity of transgender persons and then compels them to deny it every time they use a public restroom.”

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