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Arizona, 10 other states file lawsuit over transgender bathroom order

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona has joined 10 other states in suing the federal government over a directive that allows transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room of the sex by which the identify.

“President (Barack) Obama has no business setting locker room and restroom policies for our schools,” Arizona Attorney General Brnovich said in a press release. “Deciding how to protect our children and preserve their privacy, while balancing these complicated issues, is best done locally and not by some knee-jerk decree from Washington.”

The suit, filed Wednesday, called the directive from the U.S. Justice and Education Departments a threat to safety.

The guidance was issued after the Justice Department and North Carolina sued each other over a state law that requires transgender people to use the public bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate. The law applies to schools and many other places.

The lawsuit does not dispute the need to protect transgender students, only which government agency should set such a policy.

“When Arizona students attend school, they deserve a safe environment that is free from bullying and discrimination, regardless of their gender identity,” state Superintendent of Public Education Diane Douglas said in the same release. “I know that our districts and schools have policies in place to ensure that is the case.

“The fact that the federal government has yet again decided that it knows what is best for every one of our local communities is insulting and, quite frankly, intolerable.”

Supporters of the suit said such measures are needed to protect women and children from sexual predators, while the Justice Department and others argue the threat is practically nonexistent and the law discriminatory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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