Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt continues to waste state resources and energy on suing the federal government.
I am prepared to vigorously defend Oklahoma’s interests against President Obama’s directive to schools. https://t.co/IjrR6TEk9r
— Scott Pruitt (@ScottPruittOK) May 16, 2016
In addition, many of our state legislators can find it within their ideological spheres to slash funding to Oklahoma colleges and universities by nearly 16 percent while at the same time supporting Pruitt in his anti-federal government outrages. It’s an obvious case of misplaced priorities, or maybe it’s just ideological myopia.
Pruitt’s latest sideshow, as Oklahoma faces a major financial crisis, is joining other states and other entities in suing the Obama administration for essentially stating the obvious that students should be allowed to use the restroom and dressing room facilities of the gender with which they identify at their schools.
— Out & Equal (@OutandEqual) May 25, 2016
Some other plaintiffs in the case include Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, the governor of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education.
Oklahoma legislators passed a bill at the end of last session supporting the lawsuit after a measure failed that would force schools to provide other accommodations to students who didn’t want to share facilities with transgendered based on religious beliefs. The Oklahoman editorial board Sunday also praised the lawsuit as the “best way” for the state to respond to federal guidance on the issue.
But why even respond at all? Why waste the energy and resources to announce Oklahoma as a backwards place once again?
The Obama administration essentially issued a guidance letter that argued Title VII of the Civil Rights Act preventing employment discrimination and Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibiting gender discrimination in educational activities means schools should allow bathroom and dressing-room access to transgendered people based on their gender identification. If schools don’t comply, they could risk any federal funding they receive.
This is a no-brainer. It was a clarifying response to a new, controversial North Carolina law, which, among other things, requires people to use the public restroom of the gender stated on their birth certificate. The law has drawn widespread criticism and severely damaged the North Carolina economy. The federal government’s guidance is simply that, not an edict. Conservatives call it “federal overreach,” but the real overreach is how religious fundamentalists want to impose their narrow views on the majority of people in this country when it comes to gender and sexual orientation.
The only real issue here is ending discrimination against the transgendered community. The basic pragmatics of who uses what bathroom and/or dressing room and where does not become controversial until politicians deliberately set about discriminating against people. Much of the argument from the right-wing against allowing transgendered people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify is downright silly, based on made-up scenarios and fear mongering about attacks in bathrooms. Of course, no one can cite a real case of someone “pretending” to be another gender and attacking someone in a bathroom at a school, but that’s what Pruitt and his supporters probably want you to believe.
There are a myriad of ways to provide public bathrooms and privacy for people based or NOT-based on gender identity, such as unisex bathrooms. It’s not a safety or religious issue.
Pruitt continues his relentless lawsuits against the federal government while the state remains mired in a financial crisis. He has sued the federal government over so-called Obamacare and environmental regulations. He has sued the state of Colorado over its new law legalizing marijuana. Now he’s doing it again by joining other states in a frivolous lawsuit over bathroom use that even if initially successful will seem obviously obsolete and backwards in years to come.
Pruitt also remains committed to implementing the death penalty in Oklahoma as other states are beginning to end executions and as some companies refuse to sell drugs used in lethal injections.
What Pruitt and his supporters, such as members of The Oklahoman editorial board, don’t seem to get is that the fight for equality and justice marches on, and it can’t be stopped.
“Bathroom bills prove evil thrives in the ordinary” https://t.co/o7HDYXDCI7
— TIME.com (@TIME) May 26, 2016