The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) reminded employers this week in no uncertain terms that they are required to provide transgender workers with access to bathrooms that corresponds with their gender identity. A failure to do so – the EEOC warned – runs the risk of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Title VII prohibits employers—including federal, state, and local governments— from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.
There are many reasons for opposing the North Carolina law that (along with nuking locally passed LGBT anti-discrimination provisions in the state) insists that restroom and locker facilities in government buildings and schools be determined by gender as specified on birth certificates. (The law, as the Washington Post confirms, lets private businesses continue to set their own rules for bathrooms and locker rooms, a point sometimes misreported elsewhere.)
But every bad state law is not open to the executive branch to give thumbs up or thumbs down—a power the Constitution gives to the judiciary, not the federal bureaucracy. And reinterpreting Title VII this broadly begs the question on what limits, if any, progressives think may apply to executive branch agencies.
At some point, a president not of liberal liking will obtain the White House and progressives will morph into strict constructionists who will deny they were ever anything but.
More. Yes, some of these challenges will end up before the courts, where they should be decided. But the federal government is threatening to cut funding to North Carolina’s schools based on the feds’ determination that the state’s law is invalid:
North Carolina receives more than $4 billion in federal education funding each year. Now the federal government is considering withholding that money because, the Justice Department says, the state has passed a law that violates the civil rights of transgender individuals by forcing them to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates instead of their gender identity.
North Carolina is facing additional threats to its federal funding as two more agencies—the U.S. Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development—say they are reviewing the state’s controversial House Bill 2.
Furthermore. Pouring fuel on the fire, the Obama administration next issued a directive telling public schools throughout the U.S. to allow students to access school restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity. Meaning, to be blunt, penises in girls locker rooms. And any opposition, such as suggesting private changing/showering areas for non-transitioned transgender students, is prejudice, hatred, Jim Crow. End of discussion, you bigots.
Via Robby Soave at reason.com: Title IX Is a Dangerous Tool for Extending Transgender Kids’ Rights.
This case of rule by decree and federal overreach is a very valuable gift to the Trumpanzees. The issues are not so easily sorted out and probably better addressed by using common sense in various ways.
Exactly. But inflaming the culture wars serves the interests of partisans on both the left and right.
From the comments: “In the early 80s the Reagan administration cut off highway funds for any state that didn’t raise its drinking age to 21. … Don’t pretend like there’s no precedent for the federal government making this kind of threat or that it’s only Democrats that have done it.”
Response from commenter Jared: “Balderdash. The drinking age was raised nationally by Congress—when it passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act—and so the executive branch under Reagan was executing the will of Congress. In this case, Congress, even when the Democrats were in control, has refused to pass a transgender rights law. This directive is based on the Obama administration’s radical reinterpretation of the existing civil rights laws, in the face of congressional inaction — a very different situation, and one that represents a sweeping expansion of executive power.”