Tenn. Bathroom Bill|Pulled From 2016 Session

     NASHVILLE (CN) — A Tennessee lawmaker on Monday withdrew a controversial bill that would have effectively banned transgender students from using public school restrooms that match their gender identity.
      H.B. 2414 was pulled Monday afternoon by sponsor Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, according to local news reports.
     The bill proposed requiring students in public schools and colleges to use restrooms and locker rooms that are designated for the sex that is shown on their birth certificate.
     Lynn was quoted by WSMV as saying that Tennessee legislators didn’t have enough time to debate and consider the bill this year, and that it should be rolled over to next year’s legislative session.
     Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III said last week in a legal opinion that the proposed law could violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 because the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) “interprets Title IX to require that transgender students be given access to restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their ‘gender identity’ instead of their anatomical gender.”
     “There well may be valid legal arguments against DOE’s interpretation, but there is no settled precedent to provide guidance as to how a court may ultimately rule; this is a new, undeveloped, and evolving area of the law,” Slatery wrote. “But, as things currently stand, we must, as a practical matter, assume that H.B. 2414 would violate Title IX, because the enforcer of Title IX has clearly interpreted – and enforced – Title IX to prohibit as ‘discriminatory on the basis of sex’ what H.B. 2414 is designed to accomplish.”
     Slatery said enacting the so-called “bathroom bill” would put Tennessee public schools and universities at risk for losing federal funding.
     “If a transgender student is required by a school district in Tennessee to use a restroom or locker room facility that is consistent with his or her anatomical gender rather than his or her gender expression or gender identity, and if that student files a complaint, DOE, applying its current interpretation of Title IX, will almost certainly require the school district to permit the student access to the facility consistent with his or her gender expression, and refusal to do so could very well result in loss of federal funding – at least until DOE’s interpretation is overruled by authoritative and binding judicial decision,” he wrote in the 5-page opinion.
     LGBT advocacy group GLAAD had called on the music industry in Nashville to fight against the bill. GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said during a press conference last week that “anti-LGBT bills will jeopardize this state’s economy.”
     “Nashville is America’s music capital, and the companies, artists, and allied businesses here alone contribute more than $9.7 billion dollars to this state’s economy,” Ellis said. “I am here today to call on the music industry to stand with us, alongside television networks and film studios who stood with us in Georgia, in a united front against discrimination.”

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