Now Paxton is suing to deny trans people proper health care

Ken-Paxton-mug

Ken Paxton

Less than two days after a federal judge in Fort Worth issued an injunction halting enforcement the Obama administration’s guidelines for school districts on transgender students and issues, in a lawsuit filed by 13 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Paxton announced today (Tuesday, Aug. 23), that his has filed yet another lawsuit against the federal government, this time targeting proper health care for transgender people.

In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new regulation intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in the provision of healthcare, The new regulation notes that the term “sex” in the Affordable Healthcare Act includes gender identity, when it comes to prohibiting discrimination.

According to the HHS website, the new regulations require that women have equal access to the health care they receive and the insurance they obtain, and make clear that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. That means individuals cannot be denied health care or health coverage based on their sex, including their gender identity; that individuals must be treated consistent with their gender identity, including in access to facilities; that sex-specific health care cannot be denied or limited just because the person seeking such services identifies as belonging to another gender (For example, a provider may not deny an individual treatment for ovarian cancer, based on the individual’s identification as a transgender man, where the treatment is medically indicated), and that “explicit categorical exclusions in coverage for all health care services related to gender transition are facially discriminatory. Other exclusions for gender transition care will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

Ken Paxton, however, sees things a bit differently. In a press release announcing his newest lawsuit against the Obama administration, he claims to be battling “against yet another Obama Administration regulatory overreach that is invading the coffers of Texas, as well as violating the medical judgment and conscience rights of doctors and health care professionals across the country.”

Paxton claims that when enacting the Affordable Health Care Act, Congress intended the term “sex” to denote a biological category.  And now, “The Obama Administration [is trying] to redefine the law so that the term ‘sex’ means ones’ ‘internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither or a combination of male and female.’ But the President does not have the power to rewrite the law.”

Paxton’s press release says the new rules could have significant impact on Texas and health care workers because it requires taxpayers to fund “all treatments designed to transition to a different sex,” and it “forces health care workers, including physicians, to provide controversial services.”

The press release continues, “Under the new rule, a physician that believes that certain treatments are not in a patient’s best medical interests may be in violation of federal law. And a physician that, for religious or conscientious reasons cannot perform a particular procedure, chooses to instead refer a patient to another health care provider may be determined to be in violation of this new rule.”

Directly quoting Paxton, the press release says, “This is the thirteenth lawsuit I have been forced to bring against the Obama Administration’s continued threats on constitutional rights of Texans. The federal government has no right to force Texans to pay for medical procedures designed to change a person’s sex. I am disappointed in the Obama Administration’s lack of consideration for medical professionals who believe that engaging in such procedures or treatment violates their Hippocratic Oath, their conscience or their personal religious beliefs, which are protected by the Constitution and federal law.”

Paxton made no mention, however, of his and other Republicans’ efforts to interfere with the doctor/patient relationship when it comes to abortion and other medical treatments/issues affecting women. He also made no mention of the fact that while he continues to waste taxpayer money by filing politically-motivated lawsuits against the federal government, specifically targeting LGBT people in many cases, he has been soliciting donations from individuals and corporations to pay his own legal bills associated with the state and federal securities fraud charges against him. That includes, by the way, a $100,000 donation from the CEO of a company that was under investigation by the AG’s Office.

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, issued a statement today about Paxton’s latest lawsuit, noting that, “Yesterday Texas’ leaders patted themselves on the back for convincing a federal court that transgender schoolchildren should be excluded from the protections of Title IX. Today, the state filed another suit in the same court, this time challenging federal protections intended to shield transgender people from discrimination in healthcare services. We don’t know what else the state has in store, but the people of Texas will not stand idly by and let the state make transgender Texans into second-class citizens with no legal recourse when they face stigma and bias.

“Texas is better than this. This is not who we are,” Robertson said.

—  Tammye Nash

Paxton, anti-trans forces win 1st round, but fight continues

UPDATE: On Tuesday Ken Paxton announced he has filed yet another lawsuit against the federal government, this time challenging Health and Human Services regulations protecting transgender people from discrimination in their medical care. See our InstanTEA blog post here.

FW judge’s ruling on trans students guidelines could send 4th Circuit case to SCOTUS

 

Lisa Keen | Keen News Service
KeenNewsService@gmail.com

 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton

In a move that could increase attention on the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal judge on Sunday, Aug. 21, issued a temporary order blocking the Obama administration from taking any action against states that refuse to comply with its guidelines concerning treatment of transgender students in federally-funded schools.

The order, from Judge Reed O’Connor — a George W. Bush appointee — enables at least 23 states that have expressed opposition to the Obama administration guidelines issued in May to ignore those guidelines until the court can rule on the merits of lawsuits challenging them.

The guidelines, from the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice, state that discrimination against transgender students violates federal law against sex discrimination and that schools failing to comply with the laws could lose their federal funding.

A White House spokesman reiterated Monday, Aug. 22, the administration’s contention that the guidelines were “certainly not a mandate” and characterized the lawsuit as an election year attempt to “play politics” with issues involving transgender students.

“[O]ur goal has been from the beginning to provide for the safety and security and dignity of students all across the country,” said John Earnest, press secretary for President Obama.

Lambda Legal and four other national legal groups working on LGBT issues expressed disappointment in Judge O’Connor’s injunction. They said it is likely to confuse school districts trying to help transgender students and goes against “years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination.”

The groups said the injunction would have “no effect on the ability of other courts or lawyers representing transgender people to continue to rely on the federal government’s interpretations of Title IX or on prior decisions that have reached similar conclusions about the scope of federal sex discrimination laws.”

Officials with Resource Center, the LGBT community center in Dallas, on Monday issued a statement saying O’Conner’s ruling “is not the final word on the Obama administration’s efforts to provide civil rights protections for transgender Americans.

The statement continued, “The stay will likely be quickly appealed, first to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s also important to remember this is just a stay, and not the final ruling of a trial. With other cases in the legal pipeline, the rights of transgender Americans may end up being asserted and confirmed in another, higher court.

“The legal guidance the administration provided — rooted in their interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Code, as well as decades of case law, are legally sound” Resource Center’s statement continued. “The judge did not address that in his stay. Rather, he issued his decision based on the arcane process of federal rule-making. The Center believes that justice will prevail and the guidelines will eventually be upheld, but that is cold comfort to transgender students nationwide at the beginning of their school year. Nor does it offer any optimism to transgender people in the workplace, even though the judge did not immediately address the state of Texas and other plaintiff’s efforts to put a halt to the Obama administration’s guidance in that area.”

 

Big enough conflict?

But the injunction could have an effect on whether the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to take up the issue sooner rather than later.

Judge O’Connor’s decision in this preliminary matter contradicts a ruling of another federal court. And conflicts among federal courts make issues more likely to attract Supreme Court intervention.

The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex by federally-funded educational institutions, prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.

Judge O’Connor for the U.S. District Court of Northern Texas said “the plain meaning of the term sex” does not include gender identity. Noting that the Supreme Court had granted a stay against the Fourth Circuit decision, O’Connor said a decision from the Supreme Court “may obviate the issues in this lawsuit.”

Judge O’Connor’s decision makes clear he thinks states opposing the Obama administration guidelines have a strong case. He said, “the plain meaning of the term sex” in Title IX “meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.” The guidelines, therefore, are “contrary to law.”

In the preliminary ruling, O’Connor said the guidelines pose a sufficient level of threat to the statutes and constitutions of plaintiff states to demonstrate “a threat of irreparable harm” that warrants a temporary injunction.

Starting in 2010, Obama administration agencies began interpreting federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of “sex” to include “gender identity.” That meant laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex provided some protection for people whose gender identity is different from that stated on their birth certificate. In May, the departments of Education and Justice distributed a letter with “guidelines,” saying discrimination against such transgender students violates federal laws and that schools failing to comply with the laws could lose their federal funding.

The letter, said O’Connor, “provides not only must [states] permit individuals to use the [school restrooms and facilities] consistent with their gender identity,” but stipulates that alternative accommodations are unacceptable.

Thirteen states filed the lawsuit, Texas v. U.S., to argue that Congress intended “sex” to refer “only to one’s biological sex, as male or female.” Those states also include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Ten other states — Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming — filed a similar lawsuit in a federal court in Nebraska.

In granting the injunction, Judge O’Connor said the Obama administration’s guidelines are “clearly designed to target” plaintiff states with “legal consequences” if the states fail to follow the guidelines.

The Obama administration’s guidelines and actions, said O’Connor, “indicate that [states] jeopardize their federal education funding by choosing not to comply” with the guidelines. Thus, he said, those guidelines are both “legislative and substantive” and that the public should have been given an opportunity to comment on those guidelines.

“The information before the Court,” said O’Connor, “demonstrates [the Obama administration agencies] have ‘drawn a line in the sand’ in that they have concluded [states] must abide by the guidelines, without exception, or they are in breach of their Title IX obligations.”

“Permitting the definition of sex to be defined [as the Obama administration has stated] would allow [the administration] to ‘create de facto new regulation’ by agency action without complying with the proper procedures.”

At issue are two federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which covers employment, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, which covers educational institutions.

A brief filed by five pro-LGBT legal groups argued that federal appeals courts governing many of the states opposing the Obama guidelines have already ruled that sex discrimination includes discrimination against transgender people.

The groups include Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (formerly known as GLAD), and the Transgender Law Center.

Jon Davidson, national legal director for Lambda Legal, said he does not believe O’Connor’s ruling will increase the probability that the Supreme Court will accept the Fourth Circuit case. He said “a large number of issues” in the Texas v. U.S. case “go beyond what is at issue in the [Fourth Circuit] appeal, such as whether the states, state and local agencies, and state officials that brought the suit were sufficiently harmed” by the guidelines.

“Granting review in [the Fourth Circuit case, Gloucester v. Grimm] wouldn’t resolve all those issues,” said Davidson, “so I don’t think the preliminary injunction in Texas v. U.S. puts pressure on the Supreme Court to hear the Gloucester case.”

Shannon Minter, NCLR’s national legal director, said he thinks O’Connor’s injunction will likely be stayed, noting that, in discussing the “plain meaning” of “sex” in federal law, O’Connor “completely disregards” Price Waterhouse. In that 1989 decision, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination because of “sex” include discrimination against an employee based on expectations for an employee’s appearance and behavior based on their biological sex. (Notably, Justice Anthony Kennedy dissented.)

“This is a political case brought to make a political point,” said Minter. “The states don’t have any actual injury. They are just expressing their disagreement with the department’s view of the law, but that abstract disagreement is not a valid basis for a federal lawsuit. This is political posturing at the expense of a small group of vulnerable children.”

The Texas Tribune noted that Judge O’Connor issued a temporary injunction in March of last year to block enforcement of an Obama administration interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act that required states to provide to same-sex married couples the same benefits it provides to opposite-sex married couples. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton withdrew that lawsuit after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June of last year that state bans on marriage licenses for same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

© 2016 by Keen News Service

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Federal Carswell prisoner allowed to transition

mariusIn a decision by administrators at Federal Medical Center, Carswell, a federal correctional institution in Fort Worth for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs, Marius Mason has been approved to begin hormone treatment for medical gender transition.

Mason, who was assigned female at birth, is an environmental activist, sentenced in 2009 to 22 years in federal prison for the 1999 sabotage of a Monsanto laboratory on the Michigan State University campus. He was diagnosed with Gender Identity Dysphoria around 2013, and came out as trans to friends, family and supporters in 2014. Since then he has been seeking gender-affirming health care, including hormone treatment, or “T” that will cause him to develop male secondary sex characteristics.

It is believed Mason will be the first FTM person to obtain transition-related health care after coming into federal custody.

Although he uses masculine pronouns and the name Marius, the state of Texas forbids name changes for incarcerated people. Experts in the treatment of trans people, however, insist that respect for a patient’s identity, including a gender-appropriate name and pronouns, constitute medically necessary care. Prisons are required to provide medically necessary care.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has had a policy on the care of individuals with GID since at least 2011, but despite Mason’s 2013 GID diagnosis, it was not until an independent expert review medical records that administrators and staff at FMC Carswell agreed to administer hormone treatment. The facility is now much closer to compliance with federal policy on gender-affirming care, and it is hoped that they will acknowledge the use of gender-affirming names and pronouns as a medical necessity.

The decision of FMC Carswell to come into compliance with the Bureau of Prisons directive on GID promises to have positive effects for many other incarcerated trans persons.

—  David Taffet

Tracy James Jones talks about love in Jill Salvino doc

Tracy James Jones. Between the Shades

Local author Tracy James Jones talks about love and life in the Jill Salvino documentary, ‘Between the Shades.’

Last Feburary, James Russell wrote this profile of local author Tracy James Jones, whose novels feature transgender characters struggling with love, and who had just returned from New York where she participated in the filming of Between The Shades, a feature-length documentary that, in the words of Emmy-winning filmmaker Jill Salvino, “seeks to explore the many shades of being gay by what connects us all: love.”

Salvino explains that the documentary, which will feature 50 LGBT people talking about themselves and their lives, looks at “love though 360 degrees of parents, children and generations. The participants will represent a large range of age groups, ethnicities and professions. They are male, female and those who are still yet to be defined.”

Tracy James Jones, who normally splits her time between Dallas and Waxahachie, describes herself as transgender or gender nonconforming. Watch a brief video of Tracy here.

Watch a longer video about the documentary here or below, and check out the IMDB site here. There’s a Between the Shades Facebook page here, and you can learn more about Jill Salvino on Facebook and on her website.

You can read more about Tracy and her books here on her “Let’s Talk About Books” website, and here on her Facebook page.

Between the Shades Trailer from creative director on Vimeo.

—  Tammye Nash

Tuesday is Give OUT Day

 

Give OUT DayMore than $100,000 in prizes go to LGBT organizations with the most unique donors in a 24-hour national day of giving for the LGBTQ community and takes place on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and runs from midnight to midnight. The online fundraising event includes organizations from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C.

Give OUT Day was launched in 2013 by Bolder Giving with support from the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation and is now a project of Horizons Foundation, a San Francisco-based LGBT communities foundation.

The nonprofits range from the arts to social services agencies, advocacy groups to sports leagues, community centers to health care nonprofits.

“It would be hard to find an LGBT person who hasn’t, at one time or another, turned to an LGBTQ nonprofit at some point in our lives,” said Roger Doughty, President of  Horizons Foundation. “Give OUT Day is an opportunity to engage new donors and support our LGBGTQ organizations for their tireless efforts, often working with limited resource.”

According to Horizons Foundation research, less than 5 percent of LGBT people give direct financial support to LGBTQ organizations.

Equality Texas foundation, Transgender Education Network of Texas, The Women’s Chorus of Dallas are among the local and Texas organizations participating. National organizations like Sage, Binet and Trevor Project are also participating.

Click here to make a donation.

 

—  David Taffet

Blue Cross to cover gender correction surgery?

BCBSBlue Cross Blue Shield of Texas wants to cover gender correction surgery for transgender people in plans sold on HealthCare.gov, according to a report published Thursday, July 28, by The Dallas Morning News. BCBS, the largest insurer in Texas, also called for an increase of almost 60 percent in premiums for individual plans for next year.

No on at BCBS is commenting on whether adding coverage for gender correction surgery is the reason they are asking for a rate increase, but the Morning News article by business columnist Michael Schnurman indicates that’s probably not the case, citing studies that show extending coverage to transgender people: “While surgery is expensive, up to $89,000, few people get it. And those ‘in transition’ often receive hormone treatments or other less expensive therapies.”

Of course, all the facts and studies and so forth probably won’t make a damn bit of difference to the right-wingers in the Texas Legislature who have drawn a target on the back of transgender Texans with a slew of anti-trans bills in the last legislative session and a slew more expected next year, Schnurman said. (OK, so I paraphrased a little. But that’s what he meant.)

Read Schnurman’s full analysis here.

—  Tammye Nash

Transgender activist to speak at Democratic National Convention

 

Sarah McBride scheduled to deliver historic speech on Thursday

 

MICHAEL K. LAVERS | Washington Blade
Courtesy National Gay Media Association

 

McBride.SarahPHILADELPHIA — Sarah McBride this week will become the first openly transgender person to speak at a major party convention.

McBride — who is the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation — is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, July 28. She is slated to take the main stage inside the Wells Fargo Center alongside U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., who co-chairs the Congressional LGBT Caucus.

“I’m honored for this opportunity to share my story and to be the first transgender person to speak at a major party convention,” McBride said in an HRC press release. “People must understand that even as we face daily harassment, tragic violence and an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ political attacks across the country, we are real people merely seeking to be treated with the dignity and respect every person deserves.

“I’m so proud to stand with the LGBT Caucus and speak out in support of Hillary Clinton, because we know she stands with us,” she added.

McBride is a former staffer at the Center for American Progress. The American University graduate who is from Wilmington, Del., also played a leading role in securing passage of bills that added gender identity to Delaware’s anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws in 2013.

“Sarah’s personal story and unending commitment to LGBT rights makes her an invaluable voice to have in the conversation,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, in a statement. “We look forward to working with her to make full legal and social equality a reality.”

McBride is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention a week after Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in Cleveland.

Delegates to the Republican National Convention last week approved a party platform that, among other things, opposes the use of federal funds to ensure trans people can use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Caitlyn Jenner on July 20 criticized North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 — which bans people from using bathrooms in public buildings that are consistent with their gender identity and prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances — during her appearance at an event the American Unity Fund held at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

—  Tammye Nash

WATCH: A documentary series about trans pioneers you really should see

Star3On Thursday, the Emmy nominations will be announced, and among the contenders is a webseries of documentary shorts called We’ve Been Around. Lasting just five minutes apiece, the episodes each have a different narrator, a different subject, but the same style and topic: Pioneers of the transgender community, from Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Johnson’s courage during the Stonewall riots to obscure trans people like gospel singer Little Axe and Civil War soldier Albert Cashier. And what’s great about the series is, you don’t have to wait for it to come on: The entire series is available on the Internet … and you can watch them all here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ad on transgender people and public bathrooms set to air during RNC, DNC

Screen shot 2016-07-11 at 1.32.47 PM

A new ad from FairnessUSA explains why it’s dangerous to force transgender people to use the wrong restroom.

Even as the nation mourns the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in a suburb of Minneapolis and Officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarippa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith and Lorne Ahrens in Dallas, right-wing anti-LGBT forces continue to ignore the need to address the systemic racism at the root of the violence and instead focus their efforts on making sure LGBT people don’t have equal protection and transgender people can’t pee in public.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12), one month to the day after 49 people were murdered in an Orlando gay bar in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow individuals, many businesses and nonprofit organizations to legally discriminate against LGBT people. It would, for instance, allow a privately-owned business to refuse to let an employee take time off to care for a same-sex spouse who was ill. It would also eliminate many of the protections for LGBT people enacted under the Obama administration

Donald Trump, presumptive GOP nominee, supports the measure, of course.

But there are those who are fighting back against the hate. FairnessUSA — a joint project of Freedom for All Americans Education, Fund, the Movement Advancement Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality and Equality Ohio Education Fund — will be airing a new ad depicting challenges faced by transgender people accessing public restrooms during both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention.

The ad, which you can watch below, will have its national TV debut on Fox News Channel on Thursday, July 21, during the final night of the RNC in Cleveland. It will air nationwide again on MSNBC during the DNC in Philadelphia.

—  Tammye Nash

Ken Paxton files injunction against federal guidances protecting trans students

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today (Wednesday, July 6) announced that Texas is leading a 13-state coalition asking for a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of “Obama’s bathroom rules.”

“Obama’s bathroom rules” refer to a list of guidances issued earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice to help school districts avoid discriminating against transgender students. Paxton and other right-wingnuts — including Chief Protector of the Bathrooms Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — insist that those guidelines, along with Fort Worth Independent School District’s comprehensive policy for interacting and protecting transgender students, put women and children in danger by allowing men to use the same public restrooms and locker rooms as long as the men/boys are willing to declare that they feel like a woman/girl that day.

Federal officials have noted that school districts that insist on discriminating against transgender people risk losing federal money because such discrimination violates Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools. Federal officials and federal courts have already determined that “sex” in this case means gender and includes anti-trans discrimination.

Paxton said, in his press release, “The nation’s schools, and every place of employment, are now in the crosshairs of the Obama administration, which maintains it will punish those who do not comply with its orders. Schools are facing the potential loss of funding for simply exercising the authority to implement the policies that best protect their students. Every employer is now being threatened for not bowing to anyone that identifies as the opposite sex.”

The press release then goes on to explain that the Obama administration is “attempting to rewrite Congress’ use of the term ‘sex’ in multiple federal lawsuits to now include ‘gender identity.’ If successful this radical change simultaneously opens up all intimate areas within schools and workplaces to members of both sexes.”

Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, issued this statement in response to Paxton’s motion for an injunction:

“Equality Texas condemns Attorney General Ken Paxton’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of 1.4 million Americans who are transgender, and his choice today to target the most vulnerable segment of that population — transgender kids.

“Attorney General Ken Paxton has already wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, discriminated against his fellow Texans with taxpayer money, and deprived thousands of Texans of their dignity and respect in a losing effort opposing the freedom to marry. Now, the attorney general has determined to waste millions more in an obviously futile attempt to prevent our transgender citizens, and in particular transgender kids, from being afforded the most basic dignity to use the bathroom, despite the fact that the Fourth Circuit and various government agencies have made the law clear.

“His actions undermine federal protections for gay and transgender children. In particular, this injunction seeks to punish transgender students protected by Title IX and the U.S. Department of Education to harm Texans who have done nothing wrong.

“The actions being initiated today by Paxton will ultimately fail, just as they did with marriage equality. Attorney General Ken Paxton shows an obsession with discriminating against the LGBT community. Statements already made by Paxton demonstrated a shameful animus towards the transgender community, which will ultimately lead the Supreme Court to declare all laws unconstitutional which relegate members of the LGBT community to a second class status. The U.S. Constitution will never uphold blatant discrimination against our citizens.”

Following is a list of the 13 states filing for the injunction. The number in parenthesis following each state’s name denotes where, as of 2015, that state ranked, nationally, in terms of the quality of their educational systems:

Texas (31st); Alabama (39th), Arizona (48th), Georgia (35th), Kentucky (10th), Louisiana (43rd), Maine (20th), Mississippi (45th), Oklahoma (34th), Tennessee (28th), Utah (16th), West Virginia (46th) and Wisconsin (4th).

(These numbers are the School System Quality Ranking of each, according to a study conducted by WalletHub and based on “13 key metrics that range from student-teacher ratios to standardized-test scores to dropout rates.”)

And by the way, Ken Paxton is the same one facing has been charged with two first-degree and one third-degree felony counts of violating state securities laws, and similar state charges, too.

—  Tammye Nash