- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rep. Andy Harris is calling President Obama’s bluff on transgender bathroom access, saying the president’s “threat” to pull federal education funding is “baloney.”

“The implied threat to funding is baloney,” the Maryland Republican said Thursday on WBAL 1090’s “The C4 Show.”

Mr. Obama last month issued a “guidance” compelling public schools nationwide to permit bathroom and locker room access on the basis of gender identity.

Mr. Harris said when “the federal government ‘recommends’ you do something they say, and they’re responsible for 5, 10, 15, 20 percent of your funding, there’s an implied threat there.”

He said the executive branch has no authority to reinterpret Title IX, and other federal civil rights laws barring “sex” discrimination, to apply to “gender identity.”

“The Department of Justice and Department of Education don’t just get to redefine the meaning of ‘sex’ in the civil rights law, Civil Rights Act on their own,” Mr. Harris said. “That’s actually Congress’s prerogative.”

“We’re going to make sure that unless the Supreme Court agrees — and I don’t think they will, with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education — that no state and no jurisdiction will have any funding withheld,” he said.

Mr. Harris said he sent a letter to all of the superintendents in his district telling them not to comply with the president’s edict.

He advocated creating separate bathrooms and locker rooms for those who identify as the opposite sex.

“There are common sense solutions, but what the Department of Justice and Department of Education did was way, way out of line, way over the top,” he said. “I wrote the letter because I want these superintendents to know that if they are going to go against that guidance, they’ve got someone who’s backing them up.”

The Department of Justice last month sued the state of North Carolina, alleging a law regulating public facilities on the basis of biological sex violates federal civil rights law.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch compared the law to Jim Crow race codes adopted after the Civil War.

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