Bathroom policy lawsuit: goal is to protect children

Political Beat

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel’s decision to join a multi-state lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s new bathroom policy for transgender people is drawing responses from across the political spectrum.

Both sides say their main goal is to protect children in Wisconsin.


U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) said Republican Schimel’s decision is no surprise considering Gov. Scott Walker’s “backwards approach to governing the state.” Pocan said the state, instead of fighting the policy, should seek ways to make schools safe for the most vulnerable students.

“It’s a poor and pitiful attempt to catch a dying wave of shameful political attacks on transgender youth in an effort to advance an antiquated ideology,” Pocan said.

On the other side, Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) sent out an “open letter to Wisconsin’s parents and children” on the issue. The lawmakers were behind the “Student Privacy Protection Act,” which would have established rules for which bathrooms transgender students can use. It failed to become law in the last session.

“The Wisconsin Legislature will take a stand against the bullying and intimidation tactics of the federal government,” according to the letter, “ensuring that state and local rights are maintained by making the privacy and safety of Wisconsin students of utmost importance.”

The Obama administration earlier this month established a Title IX policy that lets public school students use the bathrooms that match their gender identities. The policy forces all recipients of Title IX money to treat people according to their “internal sense of gender.”

Wisconsin and 10 other states, led by Texas, sued. Schimel argued the policy conflicts with the language of Title IX and state law, which prohibits discrimination based on “sex” but not on gender identity. is a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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