New federal mandate on transgender bathroom access challenged in Congress

If you were following our coverage earlier this month you already know that the President was getting ready to issue a new mandate regarding transgender access to every bathroom, shower and changing room in federal facilities across the nation. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to finalize a new Federal Registry Order offering this “clarification” of the civil rights act without any help from Congress, but it turns out that the deal was ready to roll out as soon as we heard about it. And here it is:

Several Federal agencies with enforcement authority over Federal civil rights laws, including the EEOC, ED, and DOJ, have interpreted prohibitions against sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity, including transgender status. The attached bulletin clarifies that the prohibition against sex discrimination contained within the FMR includes discrimination due to gender identity, and is consistent with the legal interpretations issued by other Federal agencies, including the EEOC, ED, and DOJ, as well as guidance issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

It turns out that the President isn’t the only one who can move quickly when necessity dictates, and Texas Congressman Pete Olson was first out of the gate. He reminded all concerned that this is a gross overreach of Executive branch power and he already has a bill pending to put a bit of constitutional checks and balances back into the equation. Here’s the congressman’s comments:

First they target school bathrooms and healthcare professionals, and now the bathrooms of all federal buildings. Where does it stop? This unconstitutional rewriting of the Civil Rights Act is further proof of the need for my legislation to stop the Obama Administration from continuing to usurp congressional lawmaking authority. Unelected bureaucrats have no business furthering a political agenda outside of their constitutional jurisdiction. We must put an end to this dangerous precedent of removing Congress’ power to make laws.

You can read the details of Congressman Olson’s bill, H.R.5812 – Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2016, here.

As much as this sounds like a sane and sensible measure, this legislation raises one important question. Are we now at the point where we not only need Congress to legislate science, but should give them the power to do so? I understand we’ve been around and around this question on the subject of climate change, but that’s an ongoing debate in the science community. At what point did someone suggest that Schleiden, Virchow and Bütschli were completely off base and that gender wasn’t determined by one’s chromosomes? And if we assign this power to Congress, what else might they legislate in the future? Can they declare that people don’t actually need vitamin C and proceed to outlaw fruit?

I asked the congressman to comment on this specific aspect of the issue. Unlike the climate change question or theories regarding newly discovered diseases where further research is needed, there is no science available to suggest that gender is determined by anything other than the 23rd chromosomal pairing in human beings. Does he feel any sort of unease over the need for the legislative branch to step in and define well established science? This was his response.

“While the science is clear on gender, the Constitution is also clear on the role of Congress to pass laws, not the president. If President Obama wants to change the definition of the Civil Rights Act he MUST go through Congress. The Founding Fathers never intended unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies to make sweeping changes to the definition of gender. We must restore the voice of the people given to them by our Constitution and put an end to this dangerous precedent of removing Congress’ power to make laws.”

Barack Obama is reinterpreting the Civil Rights Act to force through the agenda of the Social Justice Warriors who liberals rely on heavily in an election year. If Congress refuses to act, this will be yet another example of the expansion of executive authority which has come to characterize the Obama administration. But the most troubling aspect of this episode is that the President is seizing the power to redefine medical science as he sees fit to suit his political agenda.


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