Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa has called for a civil disobedience movement against the Obama administration’s guidance to public school districts regarding transgender use of bathrooms and locker rooms.
On May 18, King discussed the guidance during a sit-down with an Iowa radio station, BuzzFeed News reports. The congressman suggested that those who disagree with the White House directive should simply disregard it.
"We should call for civil disobedience here," King said, according to BuzzFeed. "And there’s no reason for us to follow an unconstitutional edict from the president, who is on his way out the door."
On May 13, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a guidance to all U.S. public schools urging them to respect the gender identity of their transgender students. This included allowing them to use facilities that correspond with the gender they identify as, not the gender listed on their birth certificate.
While the guidance did not establish any new laws, it noted that public schools that do not comply could be in violation of the already-established Title IX, which forbids educational institutions to discriminate based on sex. Public schools that disregard the guidance could lose their federal funding as a result.
King, who chairs the House Task Force on Executive Overreach, immediately announced his opposition to the guidance, hinting that his committee would challenge its legality, according to the Washington Examiner.
"I oppose that piece of policy," King said on May 13. "I think … it is an executive overreach. And it’s a topic we’re likely to bring up in a future hearing before the task force that I chair."
During his interview on Iowa radio, the congressman said he still intended to hold a hearing to challenge the guidance, BuzzFeed reports. King suggested that Obama had mandated the guidance so that new hires in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights would have “more things to do.”
“So we’re going to explore that more fully,” King added. “I need to be more astute at how movements begin. The genesis of these kind of policies. So that we can go find them before they proliferate and became contagious across the countryside.”
King also speculated that if women have the choice of showering with transgender women at the gym, “We’ll have a bunch of sweaty women around.”
The congressman has called for civil disobedience before when it comes to LGBTQ issues. In July 2015, following the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationally, the congressman called upon the states to abolish civil marriage.
“I think that it’s time now, if we don’t see the civil disobedience across the country of a nation that rejects this decision just out-of-hand and refuses to comply with it ... then our next alternative is to go into the states,” King told Dickinson County News while laying out why states should simply abolish marriage in government.
“Their ruling really says anybody can marry anybody — and eventually it will be in any combination,” King added. “I had a strong, Christian lawyer tell me … that you could marry your lawnmower with this decision.”