Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas promised on May 12 to fight a recent directive by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice that said public schools must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their self-declared gender identity.
Abbott tweeted: "I announced today that Texas is fighting this. Obama can't rewrite the Civil Rights Act. He's not a King. #tcot."
During a speech to the Texas Republican Convention in Dallas on May 12, Abbott made reference to a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice filed on May 9 against the state of North Carolina over its controversial anti-LGBT law, notes the Houston Chronicle.
"Obama is turning bathrooms into courtroom issues," Abbott told the delegates. "I want you to know that I am working with the governor of North Carolina and we are going to fight back."
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina sued the U.S. government hours before the U.S. Department of Justice sued North Carolina.
"We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence," U.S. Education secretary John B. King said in a statement on May 13, reports The Associated Press.
According to King, the new directive is intended to clarify to school districts that the bathroom and locker room policy falls under Title IX, which does not allow schools receiving federal funds to discriminate.
The directive says schools have to treat transgender students per their gender identity as soon as the student's parent or guardian tells the school district that the student's gender identity "differs from previous representations or records."
"This is a truly significant moment, not only for transgender young people, but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools," Chad Griffin, president of the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.