TN, 12 other states, drop lawsuit over transgender bathrooms

Tennessee was one of 13 states that filed a lawsuit last year against a U.S. Department of Education that called for schools to let students use the bathroom chosen on individual gender identity rather than as as listed on the person’s birth certificate.  In light of the Trump administration’s reversal of the Obama administration move, the states – including Tennessee – have abandoned the lawsuit, as announced in the Friday news release below.

 News release from Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced a victory for the states in their fight to uphold school rights. The 13-state coalition is withdrawing its lawsuit after the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to drop its appeal of a nationwide injunction. The moves were preceded by the federal government rescinding an Obama administration directive that redefined the term “sex” as a person’s sense of gender identity and placed federal funding at risk for schools nationwide that did not adhere to the new definition.

General Slatery issued the following remarks:

“The decision by the Department of Education and Department of Justice to withdraw the guidance provided in the May 13, 2016 “Dear Colleague Letter” ends an attempt by the previous administration to take what should be a state and local issue under the Tenth Amendment and turn it into a federal issue. We are pleased to announce that the states’ litigation is no longer necessary.

Last year, Sumner County School District was targeted by the ACLU, leading to an investigation by the Department of Education. Thankfully, that misguided use of federal resources is no longer relevant. Because the unlawful locker room and bathroom directive was rescinded, Tennessee schools will no longer be subjected to the threat of losing federal funding if they do not comply.

Our Office has consistently opposed efforts to take away states’ rights and exclude the people’s representatives from making these decisions. This is a positive outcome for the states involved, but it is also a win for the basic privacy rights of our students.”

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