INGRID JACQUES

Editor’s Note: Feds deserve LGBT policy pushback

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

On Friday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette put the Obama administration on notice, warning the federal government to back off its recent set of guidelines for transgender students. That was a good call on his part.

The policies laid out in a “Dear Colleague” letter, penned by the U.S. Education and Justice departments in May, are extreme and threaten to withhold federal school funding if states don’t comply.

Schuette joins nine other states in the complaint which seeks to block the federal policies from overriding how individual districts handle this sensitive issue.

The feds want schools to allow students to use the bathroom and locker room that matches their gender identity, rather than their birth gender. The same holds true for how students want to be referred to, including their name and pronoun use.

The lawsuit was filed by Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson and seeks a permanent injunction as well as a declaration that the new guidance is unlawful.

John Austin, president of the Michigan Board of Education, supports the federal policy and has pushed the Michigan Department of Education to adopt similar standards for transgender students. That proposal was fiercely debated earlier this year and a vote has been delayed.

The federal Office for Civil Rights has determined that transgender rights fall under the protection of Title IX, the law banning sex discrimination in schools.

But the courts haven’t settled the matter, and Michigan is right to fight this latest federal interference.