- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A majority of Americans in a new poll say they oppose President Obama’s order telling schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity, rather than biological sex.

Fifty-one percent of adults said they are against the decision, compared to 33 percent who are in favor and 16 percent who are undecided, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released on Tuesday.

Parents of elementary and secondary school children are even more opposed to the mandate, which puts federal education dollars at risk for noncompliant schools. Fifty-five percent of parents with school children said they oppose the order, while 32 percent said they support the decision.

Americans also overwhelmingly believe the federal government should not be involved in regulating school bathroom access, with just 24 percent supporting regulations issued from Washington. Another 25 percent said the matter is best left to state governments, while a plurality, 41 percent, said it’s a matter best left to the local government.

Although a majority of Americans oppose allowing transgender students access to the bathrooms of the opposite sex, the number has shifted significantly since the Obama administration became involved in the issue.

In a poll conducted last November, 64 percent of Americans opposed allowing transgender students into the bathrooms of the opposite sex, compared to 21 percent in favor and 16 percent undecided.

Mr. Obama issued legally nonbinding guidelines on Friday telling public schools to allow transgender students access to the restrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex. Schools that oppose the mandate risk losing millions in federal education dollars.

The U.S. Department of Justice earlier this month sued North Carolina over a law regulating public bathrooms on the basis of biological sex, saying it violates federal civil rights law.

The Rasmussen poll surveyed 1,000 Americans by telephone from May 15 to 16. It has a margin of error of 3 percent.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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