Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Trump administration officially rescinds guidance letter on transgender bathroom use in public schools

Right-wing Transgender Rights

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Attribution: Wikipedia
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Attribution: Wikipedia
The Hill reports:

The Department of Justice and the Department of Education issued new guidance Wednesday evening rolling back the policies, citing a need to further consider the legal issues.

The guidelines required public schools to allow children to use bathrooms and other facilities that correspond to their gender identities.

β€œ[We] had decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further and more completely consider the legal issues involved,” the DOJ and DOE said in a memo Wednesday. β€œThe Departments thus will not rely on the views expressed within them.”

NBC Nightly News has posted on Facebook a copy of a letter the Acting Solicitor General sent to the Supreme Court regarding the new guidance that includes the new policy as an attachment. The letter explicitly references the pending case Gloucester County School Board v. GG, which will be argued on March 28.

The National Center for Transgender Equality points out that the new guidance shouldn’t affect the Court’s case. That’s because whether or not there’s a guidance letter in place, Title IX should protect transgender students in public schools, and that question is a part of the case regardless.

Equality Case Files also posted some reactions, including from LGBT organizations.


  • 1. VIRick  |  February 22, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Ireland: Openly Gay Equality Champion Favored as Next Prime Minister

    An out MP who championed equal marriage is leading the contest to become Ireland’s next Prime Minister. Ireland’s current Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, is set to announce his departure this week after 15 years as leader of Fine Gael. Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, 38, has emerged as a frontrunner to replace him.

    Varadkar, who came out as gay ahead of the country’s equal marriage referendum in 2015, is expected to launch a leadership bid to succeed Kenny – a significant stepping stone in the formerly ultra-conservative country. The politician has kept his personal life private until now, but went public with his partner of 18 months yesterday, 21 February 2017, likely in anticipation of a bid.

    If he is elected, Varadkar would be only the fourth openly gay head of government in recent global history. There is currently only one other gay leader in office, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel.

    Varadkar had a key role as Ireland went to the polls to vote on same-sex marriage, delivering a stirring speech in favor of same-sex marriage, credited with helping to win over many undecided colleagues.

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Nebraska: Hearing on Workplace Non-Discrimination Bill

    Lincoln NE — Supporters of a bill that aims to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Nebraska residents from discrimination in the workplace packed a hearing room at the state Capitol on Wednesday, 22 February 2017, to urge a legislative committee to approve the measure. It’s the fourth time in as many years that Nebraska lawmakers have considered adding sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes that include race, age, religion, and marital status.

    Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln said he intends to keep pushing the measure every year that he’s in the Legislature. “No one should be fired for who they are or who they love, but rather based on the quality of their work,” Morfeld said. “That is fairness, and that is the Nebraska way.”

    The Judiciary Committee, which Morfeld serves on, is likely to send the measure to the whole Legislature. However, the bill is unlikely to advance in the conservative-dominated unicameral Legislature, and Gov. Pete Ricketts opposes it.

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    North Carolina: Bipartisan Bill Proposed to Repeal HB2

    Raleigh NC — On Wednesday, 22 February 2017, North Carolina lawmakers filed bipartisan legislation aimed at breaking an impasse over the state’s “bathroom bill,” but it’s likely to face tough going in the Republican-controlled legislature. Two House Republicans and two Democrats sponsored the measure that would repeal HB 2, the law approved in March 2016. But the proposal contains add-ons that led gay rights groups, as well as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who prefers a simple repeal, to immediately pan the measure.

    Republican state Rep. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville, one of the sponsors of the compromise bill, said he hopes it can secure enough votes for passage in his chamber. A deal between Cooper and Republican legislative leaders in December to repeal HB2 fell apart amid political acrimony.

    Cooper said in a statement he was “concerned that this new legislative proposal, as written, fails the basic test of restoring our reputation, removing discrimination, and bringing jobs and sports back to North Carolina.” Attempts at a resolution have mounted after worries the NCAA would soon remove from consideration local bids to host events through 2022.

    Any bill also would need to pass the GOP-led Senate. Both chambers would either need to have overwhelming Republican support or decent backing from both Democrats and Republicans to withstand any potential veto from Cooper. Cooper offered his own legislation last week, but even the same LGBT rights groups against this new bipartisan proposal opposed his offer.

    The bipartisan bill contains a referendum feature in regard to city-wide non-discrimination protections. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson of Raleigh said such a referendum feature was “a non-starter for me … I never think that it’s a good idea to put the rights of the minority on the ballot.”

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Alabama Moves to Legalize Adoption Discrimination

    Montgomery AL — Faith-based adoption agencies, including those that care for state foster children, could turn away gay couples on religious grounds without risk of losing their state license, under a bill advanced Wednesday, 22 February 2017, by the Alabama Senate Health Committee.

    Committee members voted 6-1 for the bill after an emotional public hearing that included people who urged protections for faith-based groups that place children for adoption and others who said it would allow state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. The legislation would prohibit the state from refusing to license or sign contracts with adoption groups that refuse services to people on religious grounds.

    An Alabama House committee has passed a similar bill earlier this session.

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down City Non-Discrimination Ordinance

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On Thursday, 23 February 2017, in "State of Arkansas v. City of Fayetteville," the state's appeal of a ruling upholding Fayetteville's non-discrimination ordinance, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Fayetteville's ordinance banning discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

    The justices reversed a lower court judge's decision that Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance did not violate a 2015 state law prohibiting cities from enacting protections not covered by state law (given that other provisions within Arkansas state law covered them). Fayetteville, a liberal enclave in northwestern Arkansas, is one of several cities that approved local protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in response to the discriminatory 2015 law.

    The Supreme Court Opinion (Reversed and Remanded) is here:

    The case was argued on 9 February 2017. Video of the argument is available here:

    Arkansas' civil rights law doesn't cover sexual orientation or gender identity. In the unanimous ruling, the justices rejected the argument that Fayetteville and other cities with such ordinances have made, that such protections are covered elsewhere in state law.

    The court ruled that these other laws, including an anti-bullying law, aren't related to anti-discrimination laws and don't create new protected classes. They noted that the 2015 law states its intent to have uniform anti-discrimination measures in the state.

    "(Fayetteville's ordinance) violates the plain wording of Act 137 by extending discrimination laws in the city of Fayetteville to include two classifications not previously included under state law," the court said. "This necessarily creates a nonuniform nondiscrimination law and obligation in the city of Fayetteville that does not exist under state law."

    The justices said they couldn't rule on the law's constitutionality since it wasn't addressed by the lower court and they sent the case back to the Washington County judge who upheld Fayetteville's ordinance.

    Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said he disagreed with the court's ruling and will now focus on challenging the law's constitutionality in the lower court.

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Mexico: Supreme Court: Tamaulipas' Definition of Marriage Unconstitutional

    Mexico: Suprema Corte: Inconstitucional Definición del Matrimonio en Tamaulipas

    Tamaulipas, 23 Febrero 2017.- En el estado de Tamaulipas, el Congreso local no ha legislado en torno a la igualdad de derechos entre parejas hombre-mujer y parejas del mismo sexo. Sin embargo la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) ya se ha pronunciado al respecto.

    A través del amparo 482/2016, la SCJN sentenció que la definición del matrimonio en el Código Civil de Tamaulipas es “inconstitucional”.

    "La promesa de matrimonio que se hacen mutuamente el hombre y la mujer," cita textualmente el código respecto al matrimonio. Para los ministros de la Primera Sala del Tribunal Supremo, esta definición es discriminatoria y por lo tanto va en contra de lo establecido en la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Argumentaron que la redacción del ordenamiento excluye a las parejas homosexuales de los beneficios que reconoce el estado de Tamaulipas para los “esponsales.”

    "No existe razón de índole constitucional para no reconocerlo. La Ley de cualquier entidad, que, por un lado, considere que la finalidad de aquél es la procreación y/o que lo defina como el que se celebra entre hombre y mujer es inconstitucional," determinó el ministro de la SCJN, Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo.

    El amparo ganado fue interpuesto de manera colectiva por 57 ciudadanos de Nuevo Laredo, quienes luchan por la legalización del matrimonio igualitario en su entidad.

    La Declaratoria General de Inconstitucionalidad se emitirá en cuanto se resuelva el quinto amparo en el Tribunal Colegiado en materia Administrativa en Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.

    Tamaulipas, 23 February 2017.- In the state of Tamaulipas, the local Congress has not legislated to update the equal rights between same-sex couples with that of male-female couples. However, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) has now already ruled on the matter.

    Through amparo 482/2016, the SCJN has ruled that the definition of marriage in the Civil Code of Tamaulipas is "unconstitutional."

    Regarding marriage, the code is quoted: "The promise of marriage made mutually by man and woman." For the ministers of the First Chamber of the Supreme Court, this definition is discriminatory and therefore goes against what is established in the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States. They argued that that wording excludes homosexual couples from the benefits recognized by the state of Tamaulipas for "spouses."

    "The law of any entity, which, on the one hand, considers that the purpose of marriage is procreation and/or that defines it as the one celebrated between man and woman is unconstitutional," said the Justice of the SCJN, Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo.

    The amparo won was filed collectively by 57 citizens of Nuevo Laredo, who are fighting for the legalization of equal marriage in their state. The General Declaration of Unconstitutionality will be issued as soon as the fifth amparo is resolved in the Administrative Court in Cuidad Victoria, Tamaulipas.

    Once the General Declaration of Unconstitutionality is issued, marriage equality will immediately become a reality in Tamaulipas, the first state in Mexico to have its ban struck down in precisely this manner. Sinaloa and Nuevo León are also headed along this same path, and will likely be the next two states to have their bans struck down by a General Declaration of Unconstitutionality.

  • 7. allan120102  |  February 23, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Tamaulipas will have marriage equality once the 5th amparo is resolve in Ciudad Victoria. I believe I was the one that post that Tamaulipas legislators were being forced by a federal judge to legalize ssm in less than 100 days or pay fines. Looks like they are going to be saved if the court issue the final resolution before the 100 days are up.
    Sinaloa should had marriage equality by now but congress in the state are ignoring and not reading the resolution of the supreme court. once its brought to the senate marriages will start in the state.

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    The difference between a "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" (as just ruled against Tamaulipas, and in process against Sinaloa and Nuevo León) and an "Action of Unconstitutionality" (as already ruled against Jalisco, and in process against Aguascalientes, Puebla, and Chiapas, with Durango quite likely) is as follows:

    A "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality" is deemed after 5 "Resolutions" have been ruled against the state for failure on their part to have updated their legislation to be in compliance with the Supreme Court's jurisprudence,– that is, whenever the state congress, in their intransigence and obfuscation, during that time span, does nothing.

    An "Action of Unconstitutionality" is deemed to have occurred whenever a state congress undertakes an action in direct contravention to the Supreme Court's jurisprudence,– that is, whenever they ignore the necessity to legislate in favor of marriage equality, but do something else within the marriage code, like alter the divorce requirements, or raise the minimum age of consent.

    So now, whether they do something stupid (activating the grounds for filing an "Action of Unconstitutionality"), or stall and do nothing at all (activating the grounds for filing for a "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality"), each and every remaining state in Mexico which has not yet legalized marriage equality is doomed.

  • 9. bayareajohn  |  February 23, 2017 at 8:19 pm


  • 10. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Yes, "doomed" in this sense: They have no more wiggle room. The state congresses can no longer do something stupid (else they be hit with an "Action of Unconstitutionality), nor can they stick their heads in the sand, and do nothing at all (else they find themselves facing a "General Declaration of Unconstitutionality"). Their only remaining choice is to legislate positively in favor of marriage equality.

  • 11. allan120102  |  February 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Yep they are all doomed some are more advance than others in terms of achieving marriage equality. I am quite angry that state human rights in Tlaxcala didnt sue as it looked promising to get marriage equality after there senate modify there civil code . Mexico should get full marriage equality between 5 to 10 years. The good thing is that its a given.

  • 12. VIRick  |  February 23, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Allan, by the time AMLO (the leading candidate of the PRD) becomes Mexico's next president in early 2018, the entire marriage equality issue in the last of the intransigent states will be resolved.

    With this latest ruling of 22 February 2017 against Tamaulipas, we have finally cornered the bigots, blocking their every avenue of escape, because now, even if they do absolutely nothing to legislate in favor of marriage equality, we still win (through the courts ruling against them for their failure to comply with the jurisprudence). The Courts have stated: "Time is up. We are now going to do it for you."

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!