Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange signaled in a press release Friday his stance on the growing nationwide conversation over where transgender men and women should be permitted to use the restroom.
“The Obama Administration’s new guidance document is just one more example of the kind of federal overreach that we have come to expect from this White House,” said Strange. “School bathroom use is an issue that should be decided by parents, teachers, and principals—not federal bureaucrats. The DOJ guidance document is also wrong on the law. Title IX allows schools to have separate facilities for separate sexes. The law says ‘sex,’ not gender identity. If the Obama Administration tries to enforce this absurd edict, I will work with other Attorneys General to challenge it.”
The recent rise in awareness of the issue has been sparked by a number of states and localities dictating whether or not people must use the bathroom corresponding to their gender at birth.
This week the Obama administration’s Department of Justice filed suit against a recently-passed North Carolina law which says public schools must enforce gender-at-birth bathroom policies. Proponents of the law, including Strange, fear the administration’s move could signal a move toward forcing public schools across the country into allowing students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
Strange isn’t the only Alabama figure to speak out against the trend. Representative Will Ainsworth, Republican of Guntersville, railed against the practice in a Facebook post Friday.
“Gender is not a choice,” Ainsworth wrote. “It is a fact that is determined by biology and by God, not by how masculine or feminine you feel when you wake up in the morning. Dressing like a pirate doesn’t make you a pirate, dressing like an astronaut doesn’t make you an astronaut, and dressing like the opposite sex doesn’t make you a man or a woman.”
Ainsworth promised to sponsor legislation standing against the president’s stance in the next legislative session.
“Our nation’s morals, our state’s values, and our children’s future are at stake,” he concluded, “so we must take action now.”
State Senator Phil Williams of Rainbow City also argued in favor of blocking the administration’s effort in a op-ed published on Alabama Today Friday.
“In Alabama, the courts have long held that the citizens of this state have a right to privacy and a right to feel secure;” said Williams, “and that these rights extend not just to the physical, but also to the mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual. The right to privacy of an individual in a place in which they would ordinarily and reasonably expect to be secluded, even where that secluded place is public in nature, has been upheld by the state and federal courts in Alabama for years. By implication this principle would have to extend to restroom, bathroom and changing facilities.”