The Obama administration issued their transgender bathroom guidance earlier this month.

The Obama administration issued their transgender bathroom guidance earlier this month. / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia has joined 10 other states in a lawsuit challenging whether the Obama administration can provide guidance to school districts on transgender bathroom policy. But a Georgia case shows courts have said sex discrimination laws do apply to transgender individuals.

“Nobody should know better than Georgia that it's the state of the law for a very long time that transgender people are protected when we protect people from sex discrimination,” said Tara Borelli, attorney with Lambda Legal.

Borelli cited the case Glenn v. Brumby where a Georgia state employee argued she was terminated after telling her supervisor she suffered from gender identity disorder and was planning to transition from a man to a woman.

The case made it all the way to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the termination violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“You can describe discrimination against transgender people in lots of different ways, and the courts have said, ‘No matter how you're describing it, this is about a person's sex,’” Borelli said. “And the law says that sex discrimination is prohibited.”

Borelli said courts have issued similar rulings in cases that deal with Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits schools that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex.

Georgia’s lawsuit, filed Wednesday, questions that interpretation of the law.

“Defendants’ rewriting of…Title IX is wholly incompatible with Congressional text,” the suit reads. “Absent action in Congress, the States, or local communities, Defendants cannot foist these radical changes on the nation.”

It asks for a judgment declaring the White House’s guidance unlawful.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens issued the following statement on the lawsuit Wednesday:

The guidance letter is yet another example of the President’s unconstitutional overreach. The Constitution gives only Congress the power to write and rewrite laws. Threatening to withhold taxpayer dollars from schools if they don’t comply with this new and legally unsound mandate is unconstitutional. I will continue to defend the Constitution on behalf of Georgians.

Asked about this after a Memorial Day ceremony this week, Gov. Nathan Deal said he supports the Attorney General’s decision to join the lawsuit to fight federal overreach. Deal previously called the Obama administration’s guidance “abuse of federal executive authority.” The lawsuit also includes Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Louisiana, Utah, Arizona and Texas.