UPDATE: State legislators support Gov. Haslam's objection to Obama directive
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. AP photo
UPDATE: Twenty-six Tennessee legislators signed a letter that supports Gov. Bill Haslam's objections to the Obama administration's directive that public schools must allow students to use restrooms that match their gender identity.
Several states, including Tennessee, have taken exception to the decree and are working to determine what legal course of action they may take.
PREVIOUS STORY: NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who opposed a transgender bathroom bill in the Tennessee Legislature, is speaking out against a directive by President Barack Obama's administration that public schools must allow students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.
Haslam said in a statement Monday that he disagrees with what he called a "heavy-handed approach." The governor said such sensitive issues should be handled by local school boards - and not by the state or the federal government.
The response from Haslam reads:
“The White House itself has said what they issued last week is not an enforcement action and does not make any additional requirements under the law. Congress has the authority to write the law, not the executive branch, and we disagree with the heavy-handed approach the Obama administration is taking. Decisions on sensitive issues such as these should continue to be made at the local level based on the unique needs of students, families, schools and districts while working closely with the local school board counsel, understanding that this is an emerging area of law that will ultimately be settled by the courts.”
The Tennessee bill seeking to require students to use restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates was withdrawn before the end of the legislative session last month to allow legal challenges to play out in other states that have passed similar measures.