Most family policy is advanced at the state level. It’s hard to remember that when the presidential race is headlining every newscast, but it’s true. Life, religious freedom, education, assisted suicide, bathroom policy. It’s all made at the state level.
John Paulton, Director of Political Operations at Family Policy Alliance talks about some very important races that could affect our ability to pass such policy if we don’t get out the vote!
One mom in Virginia may have said those words, but instead of giving in, she decided to do something about it. When she found out about President Obama’s bathroom decree, she began talking to friends and family. Those conversations birthed an idea – United We Stand.
On July 12th, we’re asking you to call President Obama at 1pm eastern and tell him, “No” on his bathroom policies. Family Policy Alliance, Family Research Council and other national groups are all backing this effort.
Make it a point to call. You can make a difference and together we can protect the privacy and safety of our children.
The federal government is threatening to withhold federal education funding from local school districts that disobey the recent Obama Administration bathroom directive.
The directive, issued via letter from the Departments of Education and Justice, mandates that public schools affirm a student’s chosen gender identity by allowing the student to use whichever showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms correspond to his or her chosen internal gender identity, regardless of his or her biological sex.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called the federal government’s threat “blackmail,” saying that the president “can keep his 30 pieces of silver.”
Texas and officials from 10 other states recently filed a lawsuit against federal agencies and administration officials, asking a federal court to overturn the directive, which was handed down by the executive branch without any congressional vote. The plaintiffs claim that the directive exceeds the executive branch’s authority and violates the 10th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
This lawsuit supplements the existing lawsuit filed by the State of North Carolina against the Department of Justice, and a lawsuit filed by families in North Carolina surrounding the same debate.
As states count the risk of losing federal education funding, it is important to understand how that funding is used.
Here in Washington, just 8 percent of a local school district’s budget comes from the federal government. Most of that money comes in the form of categorical grants that fund programs for disadvantaged students, such as special education, school lunches, Head Start, transportation services, and others.
It is unconscionable that a presidential administration would bully local school districts by threatening to withhold funding for programs aimed at low income and disadvantaged students unless they adopt the agenda of social experimentation foisted upon them by federal bureaucrats. Local school districts should consider responding by using this as an opportunity to finally liberate their budgets from federal education funding and the strings that come with it.
The burdensome mandates that accompany federal funding give federal officials significant control over the affairs of local schools. It is estimated that the regulations that accompany federal education funding saddle states and local school districts with millions of hours of administrative work, costing local schools millions annually and converting them into bureaucracies that must do the bidding of the federal government for fear of losing their federal funding.
Federal mandates also hinder innovation and experimentation by creating a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme. The good news is that states and local school districts can escape many of these obligations by choosing to refuse federal education funding.
Students benefit when local communities – not distant, unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. – retain control over their schools. Maintaining local control over education allows schools to be more responsive to the unique needs of students in their communities. Because of this, schools and students will be in a better position if state and local education officials use this opportunity to rid themselves of federal education funding and the onerous regulations that accompany it.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is under intense pressure from gay activists and now from the Obama administration. All because he signed a bill that protects women and children in bathrooms, locker rooms and other public accommodations.
The U.S. Department of Justice is now suing the state saying it violated federal law. The DOJ is threatening to pull funding for public schools as a result. John Rustin with the North Carolina Family Policy Council says Gov. McCrory needs to hear from you personally!
Getting a hand-written note is a lost art, but one that carries a lot of weight. Gov. McCrory staff has let us know how much it’s meant to hear from you. Please write to Gov. McCrory and encourage him at the address below. If you’re in a hurry, you can always send an email through our Action Center.
Gov. Pat McCrory
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Family Policy Alliance is proud to work with nearly 40 state-based family policy councils, including The Family Foundation of Virginia. Victoria Cobb is president of the organization. This op-ed appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Stephanie is the adoptive mother of two girls who were sexually assaulted, each of whom suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. In a raw and powerful letter addressed to members of the Virginia General Assembly telling her story, she wrote: “A particular risk to my daughters is exposure to the anatomy of the opposite sex. To my daughters, the male anatomy is a weapon by which they were assaulted. But the risk extends to even being in the presence of biological males in situations where my daughters feel vulnerable, such as when they are using the bathroom, changing clothes, or showering.”
Now, according to a federal court, assault victims like her daughters will just have to deal with that horrible fear.
Are we really willing to force sexual assault victims into situations like these?
Even for most adults, preferring to shower or dress in the most private atmosphere possible is completely rational. Remarkably, that natural desire for physical privacy in public restrooms, locker rooms and showers shared by the overwhelming majority of Americans is being attacked as unreasonable, discriminatory — even bigoted. Worse, some are attempting to force our school children into vulnerable interactions with kids of the opposite sex in restrooms, locker rooms and showers, in addition to those who have suffered sexual abuse.
Last week the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opined that a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools should be interpreted as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Despite erroneous media reports, the court did not mandate that schools immediately require access for students to restrooms of the opposite sex, despite a request by the plaintiff and ACLU for just that. Instead, the case was sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.
Yet for the first time, rather than following the plain language of law, a court concluded that the term “sex” no longer refers to the reality of biological differences between males and females. Rather, it refers to an individual’s subjective and changing feelings of “gender identity.” No other court in the country has come to this conclusion.
More important, as Judge Paul Niemeyer said in his dissent, the decision “overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety. . . . An individual has a legitimate and important interest in bodily privacy such that his or her nude or partially nude body . . . (is) not exposed to persons of the opposite biological sex. Indeed, courts have consistently recognized that the need for such privacy is inherent in the nature and dignity of humankind.”
The court argues that ignoring the realities of biological sex is necessary because the plaintiff may feel “irreparable harm” at not being able to use the restroom of her choice.
But what about the irreparable harm and humiliation children might feel being exposed to someone of the opposite sex in a locker room or shower? Is their humiliation and discomfort at having their bodies exposed to someone of the opposite sex irrational?
And while the ACLU may argue this case involves only restrooms and not locker rooms and showers, logic dictates — as Judge Niemeyer rightly stated in his dissent — the new definition of sex cannot be compartmentalized and must be applied to showers and locker rooms.
Unfortunately, the court failed to properly consider the vast harms that will result from allowing boys to share private facilities with girls. Students from all walks of life find it deeply humiliating and offensive to be forced to share showers, restrooms and locker rooms with the opposite sex.
For those students, there is no “appropriate use” that justifies the deeply harmful intrusion on their privacy. This is especially true for victims of sexual abuse, which some reports put at 1 out of 10 students under the age of 18, and for whom the very presence of a biological male in a female restroom will trigger psychological and emotional harm.
The privacy rights and safety of vulnerable school children shouldn’t be cast aside or used as a political pawn for special-interest groups that desire to impose a genderless society.
Remarkably, the court seems to have concluded that a single student’s need for public affirmation trumps the desire inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, dismissing even the fear of sexual assault victims. Hopefully, a reasonable court will step in and reaffirm that our children have the dignity of basic privacy rights in bathrooms and showers. Anything short of that will put vulnerable children at tremendous emotional, physical and developmental risk.
A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms.
A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms. HB 2414 seeks to protect the privacy rights of all students, but especially those who have suffered sexual trauma.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp testified before the committee.
“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it’s an important duty of officials who watch over our children,” he said. “Letting boys into girls’ restrooms and changing areas, for example, is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”
The state Department of Education said they are simply following the guidelines laid out in the Title IX law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school that receives federal funds.
“That’s not what Title IX means,” said Sharp. “It’s deeply ironic that the Department of Education is using its lawless misinterpretation of Title IX to pressure schools to adopt policies that actually violate Title IX.”
Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler said the state DOE claims it’s only trying to give the schools local control.
“The Tennessee Department of Education needs to stop hiding behind all these specious arguments and develop an ethical spine regarding human sexuality and biology,” he said. “It needs to say that there is something true about the nature of human biology or there is not, and then support policies accordingly.”