in Politics

It’s not about gender identity

“When a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

That’s what colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender says. Reading further, the Department of Education claims that requiring “transgender students” to use same-sex facilities violates Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination based on sex (Title IX never once mentions “gender identity”).

What if your daughter doesn’t want to shower with the group of boys (who claim to be girls)? The letter says schools may (but aren’t required to) provide other options to students who seek “additional privacy”.

Although the letter doesn’t have the force of law, it contains two threats: schools that don’t abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a “loss of federal aid”.

It’s that last part that is most concerning. “Loss of federal aid” is politician-speak for keeping your tax money. We can debate whether or not that’s a valid use of tax dollars or whether or not the Department of Education is an enumerated power in the Constitution (rather than being reserved to the states or to the people), but instead let’s focus on the gross overreach of the Department of Justice.

The “power of the purse” is held by the House of Representatives – not the Department of Justice. If we (through our elected Representatives) don’t like a program, the House can simply defund it. Prohibiting money to be spent on a program (or Department?) essentially ends it. The opposite is also true: when funds are specifically allocated by the House, dispersing (or withholding) those funds in a manner inconsistent with legislation is, by definition, illegal.

This concept is underscored by the recent ruling from Judge Rosemary Collyer in United States House of Representatives v. Burwell. In this case, brought in Federal Court, the judge ruled that unilateral actions taken by the Obama administration under the so-called Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which committed billions of dollars from the United States Treasury (without the approval of Congress) violated the Constitution. Her historic ruling reaffirms the foundational “power of the purse” which was given to the legislative branch by the Framers.

Put simply, the Department of Justice (nor any other department of the federal government) does not have the power or authority to allocate or withhold funds contrary to legislation from our House of Representatives.

Ultimately, this isn’t an issue of “gender equality” or even “gender identity”. Rather, it’s another example of gross federal overreach and why our state needs to wean itself from and reject the lure of “free” money from the the federal government. Quickly.

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