Family Research Council

Obama's Bathroom Crusade

By Tony Perkins President


Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. This article was co-written with North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. This article appeared in Inside Sources on June 7, 2016.


Russia imposes a growing threat to its neighbors, including some members of NATO, and makes no apologies for its aggression. Only last month, “two Russian fighter jets flew within 30 feet of the USS Donald Cook” in an act of arrogant provocation.

This month, China scrambled three fighter planes and sent out three warships when a U.S. naval vessel came within about 12 miles of an artificial island China had constructed. Again, an act of extraordinary belligerence.

Then there’s ISIS, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, international financial crises, our own massive federal deficits and the looming collapse of Social Security and Medicare, and skyrocketing healthcare costs to provide just a partial list of the challenges we face as a nation.

What’s President Obama’s priority? Is it to restore America’s standing in a world where we’re held increasingly in contempt, or to rebuild a weakened military that has sunk to a profound level of unpreparedness? Is it to foster federal economic policies to put people back to work or reduce taxes on families having a rough time making ends meet?

It should be. Instead, the president of the world’s most powerful nation is too preoccupied with the signs on America’s bathroom doors to see the real signs of a world in distress. After almost eight years of trampling state’s authority on marriage, the administration is expanding its war to basic biology. And North Carolina is Ground Zero.

After the state enacted the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (HB 2) saying that only males may use men’s restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities, and women may only use women’s — something so obvious from human biology and intuitive decency that it’s shocking we’re even discussing it — President Obama and his army of political ideologues are suing the state to give grown men access to women’s restrooms (and vice versa) under the guise of “anti-discrimination.”

First, a group of CEOs and a handful of entertainers waxed indignant at the Tar Heel State’s common-sense actions. They got nowhere: state leaders told the business bullies to back down, and in essence they did. North Carolina’s economy is in great shape, and the corporate executives who protested — themselves the willing victims of LGBT activist bullying — have gone strangely quiet.

In fact, North Carolina has been ranked third-best state for business in the annual survey of CEOs conducted by Chief Executive Magazine, second in ALEC’s 2016 “Rich States, Poor States,” and it was just ranked No. 1 in the nation by Site Selection Magazine for the second year in a row.

The LGBT bullies and their allies in the media have remained furious that finally someone took a stand against them. So now the Obama administration’s departments of education and justice are both threatening North Carolina in particularly offensive and authoritarian ways. They are arguing that the gender-specific bathroom law violates everything from the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division insists that requiring people to use the restroom based on their biological gender is “sex discrimination.” And it is threatening to withhold federal aid to North Carolina’s educational system unless they get their way.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s suit is particularly absurd. HB 2 is not “discriminatory,” as her radical interpretation of the law suggests — it’s a defense of the privacy that men and women expect (and deserve) in a facility where intimate hygiene and disrobing take place.

But in addition to this, the Obama administration’s potty politics show contempt for both the Constitution of the United States, and even the very nature of our system of federalism.

Can anyone honestly say that men who “feel” like women have a “civil right” to use the ladies’ room? Can anyone coherently argue that schools must be compelled to open up single-sex locker rooms to both sexes? And can anyone, with a straight face, argue that keeping boys and girls separate in school showers promotes “violence against women”?

As David French asked, “Is there a single person who believes that the Congress that passed Title VII (in 1964) believed that it was doing away with the distinction between male and female — making it completely dependent on individual preference — and thus granting men access to women and girls in bathrooms, lockers and showers?” No more than a founding father wrote a “right” to same-sex marriage or abortion in the shadows of the U.S. Constitution!

This is merely another example of the Left forcing its agenda on the people through the legal system, since, as even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi acknowledges, these are victories liberals cannot get “legislatively.”

The federal government, under President Obama’s auspices, is exercising coercive power that undermines the whole nature of representative self-government. Thankfully, though, North Carolina is fighting back with a lawsuit of our own. Officials in 11 other states have joined together in a separate lawsuit challenging the administration’s school bathroom and locker room directive. There is a growing recognition that this isn’t merely an attack on North Carolina — but on the entire nation.

America is a republic, not a tyranny. Our judicial system is designed to uphold, not reinterpret, the Constitution. Public officeholders are servants of, not dictators to, the people.

The president and his appointees might fail to grasp this; thankfully, there are still some leaders who do.

As the world careens from one precipice to the next, President Obama cannot stop obsessing over his determination to “fundamentally transform” the historic and accurate understanding of human sexuality always upheld in morality, law and custom. Americans should ponder this question: If the White House can dictate the policies of the bathrooms of America, is anything beyond its reach?

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Tony Perkins President

Tony Perkins is Family Research Council’s fourth and longest serving president, joining the organization in August of 2003. Described as a legislative pioneer by the (Full Bio)

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