Outraged conservatives Friday ripped the White House directive on transgender bathrooms, with the Rev. Franklin Graham saying he hoped "school districts across this nation will defy President Obama and his administration's radical progressive agenda to promote and advance the sin of homosexuality and the LGBT agenda."
"Who does President Barack Obama think he is?" Graham, son of the famed evangelist Billy Graham, asked on Facebook
. "Does he think he can just make a 'decree' and we will bow down and simply obey?
"What about the privacy and protection of all the other students? Isn't this discrimination against all of them? This opens up bathrooms to sexual predators and perverts.
"A decree does not carry the force of law. That's the job of Congress," Graham said. "The president obviously must have no fear of God, who made us and created us male and female."
Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter, who is leading a letter from Congress to the White House to be sent on Monday, called the edict an "extremely poorly executed threat" that should be rescinded immediately.
"Neither statute nor legal precedent has extended civil rights protections based on gender identity," Carter said. "To make this worse, denial of congressionally appropriated funds to school districts who choose not to allow students to use the bathroom of their choice regardless of gender is yet another example of this administration trampling the Constitution to push forward a political agenda."
The Obama administration told public school systems across the nation on Friday to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.
The directive, from the Justice and Education Departments, comes just days after the federal government and North Carolina sued each other over a state law that Gov. Pat McCrory signed in March.
That ordinance requires transgender people to use the public bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate. It applies to schools and other public accommodations.
While the administration's guidance is not legally binding, school systems refusing to comply could be hit with federal civil rights lawsuits — and the White House could seek to cut off federal aid to schools to force compliance.
McCrory slammed the action Friday, saying that it "changes generations of gender etiquette and privacy norms which parents, children and employees have expected in the most personal and private settings of their everyday lives.
"Most Americans, including this governor, believe that government is searching for a solution to a problem that has yet to be defined."
In Texas, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the Lone Star State was prepared to forfeit billions in federal aid rather than let the Obama administration dictate restroom policy for its 5.2 million students.
"We will not be blackmailed by the president's 30 pieces of silver," Patrick said.
Rodney Cavness, superintendent of the Port Neches-Groves school district in Texas, told KFDM-TV: "He ain't my president and he can't tell me what to do.
"That letter is going straight to the paper shredder," Cavness said. "I have five daughters myself and I have 2,500 girls in my protection.
"Their moms and dads expect me to protect them."
The state's attorney general, Ken Paxton, said that the directive "must be challenged.
"If President Obama thinks he can bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms, he better prepare for yet another legal fight."
Texas is leading the battle against Obama's 2014 executive actions that would shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and grant them work permits.
In Arkansas, GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said schools should disregard the directive, which he derided as "social engineering."
Governors and top officials in several other conservative states issued sharply worded statements against the edict but stopped short of saying that it should be ignored.
"The last time I checked, the United States is not ruled by a king who can bypass Congress and the courts and force school-age boys and girls to share the same bathrooms and locker rooms," said Phil Berger, the Republican Senate leader in North Carolina.
Other Capitol Hill Republicans were virulent, however.
"This is the kind of issue that parents, schools boards, communities, students and teachers should be allowed to work out in a practical way with a maximum amount of respect for the individual rights of all students," said Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. "Insofar as the federal government goes, it's up to Congress to write the law, not the executive departments.
"And guidance issued by the departments does not amount to federal law and should not be treated as such."
His House colleague, Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, was more blunt.
"This is another unilateral decree imposed on our nation's schools, colleges, and universities by a lawless administration," the Minnesota Republican told Politico
"This latest edict disregards the will and concerns of millions of students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and religious leaders."
Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine called on Congress to "stand against President Obama's aggressive attempts to fundamentally transform America.
"Congress must use the 'power of the purse' to combat this executive overreach," he said. "Parents and schools should assert their rights to govern themselves and not submit to Obama's lawless federal bullying."
Other Republicans took to Twitter to oppose Obama's directive: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott:
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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