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Nebraska to drop its lawsuit over Obama’s guidance on transgender students

Nebraska to drop its lawsuit over Obama’s guidance on transgender students
Nebraska state capitol in Lincoln.Photo: ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska has asked to drop a 10-state lawsuit it led challenging the Obama administration’s guidance on locker room and bathroom use by transgender students after the Trump administration ended the protection.

The Nebraska attorney general’s office filed the request Thursday. Chief Deputy Attorney General David Bydalek said the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education withdrew the guidance last month, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

The Obama administration directed schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms according to their expressed gender. Those who didn’t would have risked a loss of federal funding.

The Trump administration rescinded the guidance and left it to states and school districts to interpret federal anti-discrimination law and determine whether students should have access to restrooms in accordance with their expressed gender identity, and not just their sex at birth.

“The Department of Justice has restored the proper application of Title IX. Therefore, we dismissed our lawsuit,” said Suzanne Gage, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska attorney general’s office. “School districts will again have the freedom to fashion policies regarding sensitive privacy issues at the local level.”

Nebraska filed the challenge in July. It was joined by Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The battle began to take shape when officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, passed a sweeping anti-discrimination ordinance that included a provision allowing transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. North Carolina lawmakers passed a law nullifying that ordinance and banning others like it.

Soon after, the Justice Department said the law violated the federal Civil Rights Act and said it couldn’t be enforced. Then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said North Carolina’s law amounts to “state-sponsored discrimination” and is aimed at “a problem that doesn’t exist.”

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