AUSTIN, Texas – A federal judge granted an injunction late Sunday sought by a Texas-led group of 13 states, which blocks the enforcement of President Barack Obama's order that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who called the order an illegal federal overreach, made the announcement of U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor's ruling Monday morning.
On May 13, the federal government told public schools that in order to keep their federal funding, they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Since then, the president has maintained that the directive was based in law, citing Title IX, which protects people from discrimination in education based on their sex.
In July, 12 states joined Texas in a lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas federal court seeking to stop the directive. Late Sunday, O'Connor issued a nationwide injunction that does just that.
"This President is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform," Paxton said in a written statement Monday. "That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect States and School Districts, who are charged under state law to establish a safe and disciplined environment conducive to student learning."
"The case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students' rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers and other intimate facilities," O'Connor said in his ruling. "The resolution of this difficult policy issue is not, however, the subject of this order."
Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson said the agency is looking at the ruling. "The department is disappointed in the court's decision, and we are reviewing our options," Iverson said.
Civil Rights groups including Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights issued a joint statement calling the ruling "unfortunate."