AZ challenges Obama mandate on open bathrooms

Posted at 11:41 AM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 21:48:18-04

Arizona has decided to join ten other states in a federal lawsuit challenging President Obama’s mandate of requiring all public schools to open locker rooms and restrooms to students of the opposite sex.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas made the announcement on Wednesday morning. Brnovich is representing the Arizona Department of Education in the lawsuit. 

RELATED: 3 things to know about the Obama's administration's transgender student letter.

The mandate is based on student perceptions of their “gender identity."

Arizona has joined Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin in the lawsuit filed in the United States Court for the Northern District of Texas.

“President Obama has no business setting locker room and restroom policies for our schools,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “Deciding how to protect our children and preserve their privacy, while balancing these complicated issues, is best done locally and not by some knee-jerk decree from Washington.”

In a separate statement Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said schools and districts have policies in place to accommodate transgender students. 

"The fact that the federal government has yet again decided that it knows what is best for every one of our local communities is insulting and, quite frankly, intolerable," Douglas said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona noted that this isn't the first time Brnovich has opposed a transgender situation.

In November 2015, Brnovich signed a brief in opposition to a Virginia transgender student who sued the local school board over their bathroom policy. 

"While Attorney General Mark Brnovich may be using this as an anti-Obama political tactic, he also, for some time now, has clearly harbored anti-transgender feelings," said ACLU Arizona spokesman Steve Kilar. 

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there are 7.6 transgender people per 100,000 people in Arizona.