Morrisey, others withdraw federal transgender lawsuit

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 3, 2017

CHARLESTON — Declaring victory, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas counterpart Ken Paxton have withdrew their coalition’s 13-state lawsuit against former President Obama’s transgender directive.

The coalition’s withdrawal came in exchange for the U.S. Department of Justice ending its appeal of a nationwide injunction. Both moves follow President Trump rescinding his predecessor’s directive, which threatened federal retribution against local school districts that refused to admit students to the bathrooms, locker rooms, dormitories and athletic teams of their choice.

“This is a tremendous victory against federal overreach,” Morrisey said March 3. “This victory reaffirms the prominent role local school districts and boards of education should have in deciding what is best for their students without fear of federal backlash.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Texas, yielded the nationwide injunction in August 2016. The coalition argued the Obama-era guidance sought to unilaterally and unlawfully change the word “sex” in several federal laws from that based on biology, which has existed for decades, to include a person’s self-professed gender identity.

Morrisey previously had sent guidance to West Virginia and county education officials explaining that Obama’s directive was both unlawful and non-binding. In late February, he sent a follow-up letter affirming his guidance in the wake of Trump’s announcement.

West Virginia brought the lawsuit with Texas and officials from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. They were joined by two local school districts in Arizona and Texas.

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