Texas judge blocks rules on gender, bathrooms
AUSTIN — A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration’s order that requires public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.
In a temporary injunction signed Sunday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the federal education law known as Title IX “is not ambiguous” about sex being defined as “the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”
The judge said the order would apply nationwide. The ruling, he said, was not about the policy issues of transgender rights but about his conclusion that federal officials simply did not follow rules that required an opportunity for comment before such directives are issued.
“This 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,” he wrote.
The judge sided with Republican state leaders who argued that schools should have been allowed to weigh in before the White House mandate was announced in May.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that halting the Obama order before school began was necessary because districts risked losing education dollars if they did not comply.