February 23, 2017
When liberals put together their bathroom agenda, I guarantee there's one word that never came up: Congress. Like the rest of its LGBT agenda, the Left knows it has not chance than convincing leaders that it's a good idea to force boys and girls to shower together, bunk together on school trips, and use the same locker rooms and bathrooms. So the Left turned to the playbook that's delivered the most success: a mix of executive overreach and judicial activism.
It worked. By the end of his two terms, President Obama had bypassed Congress so much he could have built his own interstate beltway. To most liberals, the legislature is just a pesky branch that gets in the way of their extremism. And they don't mind saying so. Last year, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dropped more than a few jaws when she admitted that the only way they could redefine marriage was through the courts. "Legislatively, we couldn't really succeed, but from the courts and the rest... that victory has been won." So you can imagine their frustration when the man who succeeded Obama started showing respect for states and traditional lawmaking.
Yesterday, that deference was on full display when President Trump gave elected officials their jobs back on matters of privacy and safety. After nine months of a full-blown grassroots revolt, the administration rolled back Obama's mandate that schools open their locker, shower, and bathroom doors to students of both genders. The order that launched a dozen lawsuits was "improperly and arbitrarily devised," the Departments of Education and Justice wrote, "without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy." Essentially, President Trump didn't make a decision on bathrooms -- he gave states the freedom to make their own. Like most Americans, he thinks the federal government has absolutely no right to strip parents and local schools of their rights to provide a safe learning environment for children.
Try telling that to Hollywood. From Ellen DeGeneres to Katy Perry, people with absolutely no real knowledge of the debate weighed in anyway, insisting that Trump's move was "disgusting," "unacceptable," or worse. Even Apple, which may as well be a satellite office for the DNC, showed its ignorance by criticizing the move. "Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination," they argued. "We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections."
Of course, the irony of that statement is that Donald Trump -- and all conservatives -- support Apple's right to create that environment! In the two biggest privacy bills of the last 12 months -- Texas's SB 6 and North Carolina's HB 2 -- businesses were not just allowed, but encouraged, to set their own policy on bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. In this case, the administration is simply giving states those same rights. If the Left wants gender-free schools, here's an idea: persuade the people. That's how the system is supposed to work. Instead, liberals want the courts and president to do things that elected officials won't.
The administration's posture isn't anti-LGBT. It's pro-democracy. States and local districts are in the best position to decide what serves their students best. If it's letting teenage boys shower with the girls, then by all means, pursue that. Just don't be surprised when families rise up -- as they have all across this nation -- and demand better. When pressed, the persistence of parents will always be stronger than the government's coercion.
Hollywood and corporate CEOs would be wise to remember that this wasn't a party issue, a race issue, or an age issue. This was an American issue. More than 105,000 of you signed FRC's petition calling for an end to Obama's mandate. Sixty-six percent of the country objected to the gender-free world Obama was trying to force on children as young as kindergartners. Only 28 percent approved of it -- with just 15 percent strongly approving. President Trump did more than keep his campaign promise of getting the federal government out of the business of dictating bathroom and shower policies. He respected states' rights -- but most importantly, he respected parents' rights. For that, we thank him.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.