Austin, Texas – May 25, 2016– Equality Texas condemns the attorney general’s filing today of litigation seeking to prevent protections for transgender kids. Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick have already wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, discriminated against their fellow Texans with taxpayer money, and deprived thousands of Texans of their dignity and respect in a losing effort opposing the freedom to marry. That boondoggle resulted in a resounding defeat at the U.S. Supreme Court. Now in another lawsuit, the Attorney General has determined to waste millions more in an obviously futile attempt to prevent our transgender citizens, and in particular transgender kids, from being afforded the most basic dignity in regard to basic bodily functions, despite the fact that the Fourth Circuit and various government agencies have made the law clear.
Today’s lawsuit filed by the State of Texas undermines federal protections for gay and transgender children. In particular, this suit punishes transgender students protected by Title IX and the U.S. Department of Education, and the attorney general will waste precious time and resources and millions of dollars to harm Texans who have done nothing wrong.
The actions being initiated today by Paxton and Patrick will fail in the U.S. Supreme Court just as they did in marriage equality. They will also damage our state’s reputation as open and welcoming, and by blindly following North Carolina put our economy at risk for personal political gain. The lawsuit imperils federal funding for our schools, which, as the result of the conduct of the lieutenant governor, are already drastically underfunded. Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Governor Patrick show an obsession with discriminating against the LGBT community and wasting precious taxpayer dollars to do so. Statements already made by Paxton and Patrick demonstrate a shameful animus towards the transgender community, which will ultimately lead the Supreme Court to declare all laws unconstitutional which relegate members of the LGBT community to a second class status.
State leaders such as the lieutenant governor and the attorney general should understand the role schools play in the well-being of students. The demands of Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Attorney General Paxton to ignore federal law are not just dangerous and economically risky — they also demonize transgender students, many of whom are forced to drop out of school because of the constant bullying, aggression and physical violence they face.
This is about the dignity and respect we accord citizens and the laws that we enact to protect them — to protect all of us. It’s about fairness, inclusion and equality for all Texans. Equality Texas will work to defeat any measure that deprives LGBT Texans and their families of their dignity and safety. Equality Texas will continue to advance the rights of the LGBT community in Texas, and we are confident that the attorney general’s lawsuit will fail. The U.S. Constitution will never uphold blatant discrimination against our citizens.
Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization working solely to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.