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May 24, 2016

Oklahoma Lawmakers Tell Administration to Retract School Bathroom Guidance

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, and U.S. Reps. Markwayne Mullin, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Steve Russell, and Jim Bridenstine have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Education (ED) demanding that the administration retract the May 13, 2016, guidance on transgender students.

In the letter, the Oklahoma congressional delegation told Education Secretary, John King, and U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, that the ED and DOJ do not have the authority to unilaterally redefine the term “sex” in federal education discrimination laws to include “gender identity.” They wrote:

“Redefining ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ is a massive overstep by the federal government. Such a decision should not be unilaterally made by the Department of Education or the Department of Justice. Despite what your joint guidance asserts, Congress did not intend in 1972 or today to include ‘gender identity’ within the definition of ‘sex’ in prohibiting discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’. Redefining ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ under Title IX would require legislative action in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.”

The delegation also slammed the Departments for disregarding the actions states and local school districts are taking to address the issue of gender identity in their schools. They wrote:

“…the federal government has made a unilateral decision without acknowledging that states and local school districts are already taking steps to address the issue of gender identity … [t]he Departments’ guidance acts to supersede established local policies and, in some instances across our nation, state law.

“Worse, the guidance oversimplifies the needs of each individual student and community. State and local officials, school boards, teachers, and parents are best equipped to determine the best course of action for meeting the needs of all students. Allowing them to make the best decisions for how to serve and protect their students as they receive an education is something we should all support.”

The entire letter can be viewed here


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