Following a letter from the Obama administration calling for all schools across America to allow transgender students access to the bathroom facilities that match their gender identity or risk facing the loss of millions of dollars in funding it would appear that the state of Texas would rather go to war over the issue than listen to sense.
On Friday night the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott took to Twitter to condemn both the letter and President Obama, accusing him of wanting to rewrite civil rights to suit his own purposes. ‘I announce today that Texas is fighting this. Obama can’t rewrite the Civil Rights Act. He’s not a king.’
Earlier that same day Abbott endorsed the North Carolina HB2 law banning transgender people from using the bathrooms that match their gender identity, promising that ‘I am working with the governor of North Carolina, and we are fighting back.’
Abbott is being backed by several members of the Texas government, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who spoke at a press conference to condemn the call for equality for transgender children, saying that government is engaging in blackmail.
‘We will not yield to blackmail from the President of the United States. We will not sell our children to the federal government. And the people of Texas and the legislator will find a way to find as much of that money as we can if we are forced to. There is no compromise on this issue.’
Patrick added that the debate over bathrooms ‘is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools’. He went on to try and twist the call for the inclusion of transgender students to the government trying to hurt those in a vulnerable position by taking away funding.
‘The schools in Texas get about $10 billion over our two-year budget of federal funds. A majority of that is for free breakfasts and free lunches through the food program,’ he said. ‘So Barack Obama, if schools don’t knuckle down to force girls showering with boys and force 8-year-old girls to have to endure boys coming into the bathroom, he’s taking money from the poorest of the poor. The President of the United States will be ending the free breakfast and free lunch program. That’s what he’s saying.’
Members of the Texas school and education department have also condemned the letter, with one superintendent having a rather extreme reaction. Rodney Cavness, superintendent of Port Neches-Groves Schools in south Texas, told local news reporters that he would wilfully disobey the president’s order.
‘I got news for President Barack Obama. He ain’t my president and he can’t tell me what to do. The letter is going straight to the paper shredder.’
Cavness said that he has five daughters and is entrusted by parents to protect another 2,500 girls in the school system. He says that the president’s orders have gone too far. ‘He is destroying the very fibre of this country. He is not a leader. He is a failure.’