GOP officially sides with pro-family advocates against bathroom bills
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Republican National Committee (RNC) is standing with pro-family advocates against the LGBT movement's effort to allow transgender students to use facilities designed for members of the opposite sex.
In an official resolution passed last month, the RNC said it "encourages State Legislatures to recognize that these Obama gender identity policies are a federal governmental overreach, a misinterpretation of Title IX policies, and an infringement upon the majority of students' Constitutional rights." Additionally, "the Republican National Committee encourages state legislatures to enact laws that protect student privacy and limit the use of restrooms, locker rooms and similar facilities to members of the sex to whom the facility is designated."
The resolution, which was first reported on Twitter on Wednesday by TIME's Zeke Miller, was quickly denounced by a Democratic National Committee spokesperson.
"The GOP can't find time to consider a Supreme Court nominee, or pass immigration reform, or raise the minimum wage, or enact equal pay for women, but when it comes to attacking trans people, they've got all the time in the world," T.J. Helmstetter wrote in an email to The Advocate.
While the RNC did not respond to a request for comment, its resolution underscores state-level efforts to stop male and female students from using restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities designated for the opposite sex. A first-of-its-kind bill in South Dakota that passed the state legislature would provide such protections while requiring school districts to provide single-sex facilities for students identifying as the gender different from the one they are.
The Advocate reports that the South Dakota bill will become law on Tuesday if Governor Dennis Daugaard does not sign it.
The RNC resolution also stands with at least two courts that have ruled against students who tried to force their schools to allow them access to opposite-sex facilities. Last summer, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews that "a federal court in Pennsylvania recently rejected a ... lawsuit filed by a transgender student seeking access to restrooms at a college, ruling that 'separating students by sex based on biological considerations ... for restroom and locker room use simply does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.'"
The students had claimed that the Obama administration's 2014 interpretation of the 1972 anti-sex discrimination Title IX law allowed them to force schools to accept their demands for facility use.
"The court [in Pennsylvania] rejected the Title IX claim," said Tedesco. "It also highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"
The ADF attorney also said that the change to Title IX "is not legally binding" and was "politically motivated."
"In fact, federal regulations expressly state that 'significant guidance documents' have no binding legal authority," said Tedesco. "Further, the document does not mention access to restrooms and it does not change binding Title IX regulations authorizing schools to create 'separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"
"It would take an act of Congress to include 'gender identity' as a protected status under Title IX. The school can defend itself against this lawsuit without losing its federal funding. And it should. Allowing students access to the opposite sex's restrooms would violate the privacy rights of the vast majority of students and trample the rights of parents as well."
"The bottom line is that schools have broad discretion to handle these delicate matters in ways that balance the interests of all students involved. They can craft policies that are both respectful of the privacy concerns of all children and sensitive to the diverse needs of individual children[.]"
Tedesco's colleague Matt Sharp likewise told LifeSiteNews last year that "when you look at Title IX, and what it actually says, this exact issue was debated 40 years ago, when it came up." Congress decided that "whenever you've got privacy and safety interests, schools can maintain these distinctions. So they wrote it into the law, and into the regulations."
The law is "very clear and unambiguous," explained Sharp.
LifeSiteNews asked Helmstetter why his comments went after the entire GOP rather than simply the RNC – which is not formally involved in any Supreme Court nomination efforts or other congressional legislative and nomination considerations.
"My statement was ... an indictment of Republican Party leadership as a whole," Helmstetter said in an e-mail, pointing to policies of GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates he said harm various demographic groups.
"The RNC is the organizational arm of the Republican Party responsible for the selection process of a presidential nominee and for the party's platform. If you think that the RNC's priorities are not representative of its candidates then you should ask Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump which RNC resolutions, if any, they disagree with," concluded Helmstetter.