Judge blocks Obama’s trans rule from coming into force

Students in US schools will not have to share showers and toilets with people of the opposite sex, after a federal judge blocked an order from President Obama.

Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling, which could be overturned at a later date, focused on the way the Obama administration pushed through the change – rather than on the content of the order.

However, religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said the ruling will help schools protect the “privacy, safety and dignity” of all students.


In May the US Government told schools to let transsexual pupils use the toilets, changing rooms and showers of their choice, or face serious funding cuts.

Judge O’Connor said that the Government should have included a period of notice and public comment before issuing the order.

He also noted: “This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students’ rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school”.

The ruling is part of a case brought by 13 states against the federal Government.

‘Political agenda

ADF welcomed the decision, stating: “The Obama administration cannot unilaterally disregard and redefine federal law to accomplish its political agenda of forcing girls to share locker rooms and showers with boys.”

The judgment is set to remain in effect while the court considers the case in more detail. The issue could end up being decided by the US Supreme Court.

Earlier this month the US Supreme Court prevented a 17-year-old student who was born female from using the male toilets at school.


Parents had expressed concern about the student, known as Gavin Grimm, using boys’ toilets, which prompted the school to create unisex bathrooms.

But Grimm sued the school and in April a court said she could use the male toilets.

However the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to put the lower court decision on hold. It is set to decide whether it will hear the case in full in the coming months.

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