Washington is leading a coalition of 12 states and the District of Columbia opposing the states that have asked for a federal injunction against the guidelines which prevent employers and schools from discriminating against transgender people in bathroom access.
The states which are signatories to the amicus curiae filing by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon and Vermont.
In my view, the lawsuit is another unacceptable example of discrimination that transgender individuals experience. While Texas and other states hide behind unfounded safety concerns, this case is really an attempt to deny the civil rights of our transgender friends, coworkers and family members.
I decided Washington state should offer to lead on this particular brief because I view a central component of my job is to uphold the civil rights of all Washingtonians.
And the case in Texas has a direct impact on transgender individuals across our country.
Washington state is one of 20 states that offers civil rights protections to transgender individuals. And I wanted the court and Texas to hear specifically from states like Washington and our experience with upholding rights of transgender individuals.
While Plaintiffs' claimed harms are hypothetical, the discrimination suffered by transgender individuals is all too real: Such discrimination harms transgender individuals at work, at school, and in public causing tangible economic, emotional and health consequences.
The Texas lawsuit was joined by Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
According to Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell, Texas and the other states must prove that they will be harmed in the absence of an injunction; that an injunction would be in the interest of the public; and that the balance of equity would favor them. It’s those arguments that Washington is focusing on in the brief.
Texas’ basic claims about harm is that, first and foremost, the federal guidelines will lead to more bathroom crime. There is absolutely no evidence to support hat. Texas cites no evidence to support that.
Contrary to Plaintiffs' claims, our shared experience demonstrates that protecting the civil rights of our transgender friends, relatives, classmates and colleagues creates no public safety threat and imposes no meaningful financial burden.
Texas also claims these guidelines will cause them to lose funding imminently,” he said. “We point out that there is a long process the federal government has to go through before it can deny a state funding. None of that process has even begun – Texas faces no threat of imminent harm. Texas claims it will incur massive construction costs to comply with the federal guidance. That is not true. Our state has been able to comply and protect against gender identity discrimination without incurring construction costs.
As for equity and public interest, Purcell said that transgender individuals currently face massive discrimination, and protecting them reduces such problems in the country and makes everyone better off.
The Obama administration rules laid out how to set out a safe environment for ALL kids.
--Danni Askini, Gender Justice League
Askini noted that the 1,000 or so transgender students in Washington have had bathroom access since 2008-9 "and this has happened without incident."
Eleven other states, led by Nebraska, have filed an almost identical lawsuit to the Texas-led coalition. Nebraska is joined by Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.