CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is hailing a decision blocking nationwide enforcement of the federal government’s directive on transgender students.
The injunction granted Aug. 22 by a federal court in Texas stops implementation of President Barack Obama’s directive threatening federal funding for local school districts that refuse to admit students to the bathrooms, locker rooms, dormitories and athletic teams of their choice.
“This is a crucial victory in our fight against federal overreach,” Morrisey said in a statement. “We are pleased that the court recognized the threat this mandate poses to students’ privacy and local decision making over school policy.
"Halting implementation will protect vital West Virginia school funding while litigation is still pending.”
The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office joined 12 other states in seeking this injunction in July 2016. The injunction supports a lawsuit brought by West Virginia, Texas and 11 other states against the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice in May 2016.
That lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Texas, contends the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice seek to single handedly change the traditionally held understanding of the word “sex” from that based on biology to include a person’s self-determined gender identity.
The states argue such an approach ignores lawful procedure, sidesteps congressional authorization and unconstitutionally coerces states. The plaintiffs also point to violations of the Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments among other arguments.
West Virginia brought the lawsuit with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and officials from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. They are joined by two local school districts in Arizona and Texas.
A West Virginia conservative group also is hailing the ruling.
"Today is a day to celebrate, albeit briefly, that common sense has not completely left every seat of the federal judiciary," said Allen Whit, president of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. "This ruling in favor of West Virginia's public school students proves that safety first should be the driving force in these types of decisions.
"Now county board's of education like Marion County, who have rushed into acceptance of President Obama's dangerous guidelines out of fear they may lose a few federal dollars, will be required to return to a student first and safety first approach.
“This is a victory but no victory is permanent and we must press forward at the legislature to pass laws preventing county boards from making these types of dangerous decisions that could permanently scar our children."
Whitt also praised Morrisey's efforts in the matter.
“Every parent of every public school student should thank Attorney General Patrick Morrissey for wisely choosing to join in with Texas in this suit on behalf of student safety," Whitte said. "Because of his prudent actions, West Virginia students will now benefit from this Texas Federal Judge’s ruling."