President Obama Issues Another Sweeping Bathroom Mandate

Photo credit: Intel Free Press via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Intel Free Press via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Monday, Buzzfeed reported that a new executive order issued by the Obama administration will mandate that restrooms in federal facilities be made accessible to both employees and visitors based on their gender identity.

“The regulation builds on and reinforces a growing body of interpretations by the Obama administration to protect transgender people under longstanding civil rights laws,” the reporter said. “Several agencies in recent years have found that bans on sex discrimination… ban transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.”

President Obama is seriously challenging the ability of federal workers to feel safe and comfortable in their workplaces. Polling suggests that the American people are extremely divided over the transgender bathroom issue, but President Obama thinks that now is, somehow, an appropriate time to tinker with some of the most intimate spaces in a person’s life.

In a recent Hot Air post, columnist Jazz Shaw wrote, “The problem is that there clearly isn’t a consensus on the subject around the nation. In fact, there are currently multiple lawsuits making their way through the courts regarding state level decrees and previous federal decisions involving schools.”

More than 20 states are currently suing the federal government over the president’s mandates regarding transgender bathrooms. Conservative governors across the country, such as Texas’s Greg Abbott and North Carolina’s Pat McCrory, have not been hesitant to challenge this executive overreach.

The president has forgotten that the fundamental purpose of the executive is to execute this country’s laws in support of the Constitution. Instead, he wants to write the nation’s laws to suit his far-left ideology. To him, the government is just another social science experiment, and he thinks it is his job to keep pushing the limits of acceptable policy as far as he can.

As those lawsuits show, the American people clearly believe the president has overstepped his constitutional authority in his various dictates to state and local agencies.

Yes, leftists may be right when they argue the president has some discretion. However, as history teaches, this discretion can be seriously abused.

For instance, progressive idol Woodrow Wilson also used his presidential authority to interfere with bathroom policy in federal workplaces.

William Keylor, a historian at Boston University, wrote that federal workplaces “had been integrated during the post-war Reconstruction period, enabling African-Americans to obtain federal jobs and work side by side with whites in government agencies.  Wilson promptly authorized members of his cabinet to reverse this long-standing policy of racial integration in the federal civil service.”

By interfering with longstanding policy for the sake of a personal social agenda, Wilson enabled the kind of institutional racism that displaced African Americans in the economy, destroyed black families, and permitted years of injustice.

What the president does has a major impact on future policy. President Obama’s social experimentation, like President Wilson’s, may create space for more and more radical “reforms,” and in so doing set intolerable precedents that will stand for decades.

American citizens ought to be furious with these legal innovations. Leftist rule-makers in Washington cannot be allowed to get away with upending even more aspects of American society.

Michael Lucchese works for the American Principles Project.