A Missouri Republican is urging the state Department of Education to ignore an Obama administration directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
Rep. Mike Moon, a Republican from Ash Grove, said the federal government is trying to force Missouri to protect “a behavior inconsistent with natural law.” He pointed to the work of a controversial psychiatrist that concluded being transgender is a “a mental disorder that merits treatment.” Moon implored Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven to “reject the edict without regard to the potential financial costs.”
Last week the Obama administration issued its directive, which aims to ensure no students are discriminated against. It doesn’t have the force of law, but it does insinuate that schools that don’t abide by it could face lawsuits or loss of federal funding.
“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so,” the letter to the nation’s school districts says.
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Moon, who has garnered public attention in the past for his comparisons of abortion to the Holocaust and for his attempts to block Syrian refugees into Missouri, is not alone in his opposition to the president’s position.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican running for his party’s nomination for governor, slammed Obama and called his directive “an unprecedented assault on our privacy and safety.” Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL also running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, said the president’s actions were wrong and an “obscene overreach of federal power that must be stopped.”
Rep. Andrew Koenig, a St. Louis County Republican running for state Senate, said the policy would “threaten the health and well-being of students across Missouri.”
Even Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democrat’s presumptive nominee for governor this fall, told the Associated Press that the Obama administration moved “too quickly and too unilaterally.”
That all stands in contrast to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who told Missourinet earlier this week that she supports the Obama administration’s action.
“To me it’s kind of common sense that you would want to do that,” she said. “I’m not aware of any problem that has occurred because of transgender people using the bathroom with the gender they are identifying and living as.”
Republican lawmakers in the Missouri House and Senate filed bills this year that would have forced schools enforce gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms. The bills would also have prohibited students from using facilities that do not correspond to the gender on their birth certificates.
None of the bills got much traction, and the session adjourned for the year last week.