Louisiana AG Defies Feds on Bathroom Mandate

     BATON ROUGE, La. (CN) — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said schools and universities in his state should ignore the Obama administration’s directive that allows transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.
     The federal government said last week that public schools must allow transgender students to use public bathrooms they find appropriate, or risk losing federal funds.
     The administration of President Barack Obama has approached the right to proper bathrooms as a civil rights issue on par with previous struggles over same-sex marriage and racial desegregation, but Landry, a conservative Christian, disagrees.
     In a five-page letter issued Wednesday to public schools and universities, Landry announced that he would vigorously defend Louisiana and its citizens from “unlawful action” threatened by the Obama administration’s recent mandate that public schools allow transgender students to use a bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.
     Landry said the transgender bathroom mandate that threatens to remove federal money if bathroom access isn’t provided “jeopardizes the safety and well-being of the student body” and creates a public education funding crisis.
     Landry said the Obama Administration has no authority over state property.
     “Let me be perfectly clear: President Obama and his appointees do not have legal authority to require our children to share locker rooms and bathrooms with children of the opposite sex,” Landry’s letter said.
     The attorney general also said that the Obama administration’s policy position might cause children to be more easily exposed to sexual predators.
     “Furthermore, this irresponsible and illegally issued Guidance places the mental well-being and privacy rights of [99] percent of Louisiana’s children at risk without any demonstrable evidence of benefit to the less than one percent of the population this policy purports to benefit,” Landry wrote. (Emphasis in original.)
     Landry criticized the administration’s approach of cutting off funding, calling it improper and illegal.
     “While there are opportunities for state lawmakers, school districts, athletic associations, and colleges and universities to address complex student safety issues in a nondiscriminatory manner — this mandate and threat of lawsuits and withholding of education funding is not a proper or legal approach,” he wrote.

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