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Judge Blocks Justice Department's Order On Transgender Bathrooms

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked an Obama administration order requiring U.S. public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms of their gender identities. 

Texas and 12 other states had asked Judge Reed O'Connor to halt the directive, which the U.S. Justice Department issued in May.  Another dozen or so states also have filed a separate, similar lawsuit.

The justice department issued its directive days after filing suit against North Carolina over House Bill 2, a state law that requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch compared the law to racial segregation policies. Republicans say it contains common sense privacy safeguards.

The judge's order applies nationwide, and means school districts don't have to follow the Justice Department guidance while the lawsuit proceeds.  

North Carolina isn’t part of the Texas case, but has filed its own separate lawsuit against the Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools adopted a policy allowing transgender students to choose which bathroom they use, but that’s on hold after another federal court ruling.   

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.