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COLUMBUS, Ohio (ChurchMilitant.com) - Ohio's Attorney General is announcing he will "defend vigorously" the interests of his state against a "heavy-handed" federal mandate regarding transgender students.
Attorney General Mike DeWine released a response last week to a May 13 joint letter from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education (ED).
The DOJ/ED letter, referred to as the "Dear Colleague letter," sets guidelines for the manner in which school districts must act towards so-called transgender students. According to the letter, sex is "assigned" at birth and that gender identity is a person's internal sense of gender, adding that a transgender person's gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
The letter threatens to pull federal funding from school districts that do not follow its "significant guidance."
DeWine agrees the letter is "significant" but he also declares "it is not law." He writes,
[P]roponents must obtain passage of legislation by both houses of Congress that then is submitted to the President for signature or veto. … Here, Congress has not enacted a federal decree along the lines the letter advocates, and I am not aware that the Administration has even proposed such legislation. Indeed, the directives have not even gone through the process of notice and comment rulemaking as would be required by the Administrative Procedure Act were the rules consistent with and authorized by legislation.
He transitions from a strictly legal argument to a more personal one, calling the letter a "heavy-handed federal bureaucratic action guaranteeing prolonged controversy and litigation over locker room regulation." DeWine asserts the "federal government does not need and is not empowered to make every decision for every social institution in our country."
DeWine concludes the U.S. constitution relegates such decisions to communities and individual states. He finishes promising, "If your Departments acts against our State contrary to law, I will defend vigorously the interests of the State of Ohio."
Initially, 11 states filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and ED over the letter with two more — Kentucky and Mississippi — throwing their hats in. To date Ohio has not joined the suit.
Kentucky governor Matt Bevin claims Obama's administration is "conspir[ing] to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights."
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