by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Orwell would be impressed. On Friday, the Obama administration issued a proclamation with all the force of law, requiring all public-education institutions in the land to allow boys to use girls’ bathrooms and locker facilities. They need only feel very strongly, on any given day, that they are really girls deep down inside.
Of course, the president can’t formally issue a law. This is still a democracy — superficially at least. So whenever Obama “changes the law,” as he likes to brag, the new law usually takes the form of something else. In this case, the new law took the form of “guidance” in a “dear colleague” letter issued jointly by the Department of Justice and Department of Education to school officials from sea to shining sea.
The Orwellian touch is right at the top. Noting that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits “sex discrimination . . . by recipients of Federal financial assistance,” the letter explains:
This prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status. . . . This guidance does not add requirements to applicable law, but provides information and examples to inform recipients about how the Departments evaluate whether covered entities are complying with their legal obligations.
This is hair-raising Newspeak, straight out of 1984. “The prohibition” in Title IX certainly does not “encompass discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including discrimination based on a student’s transgender status.” The terms “sex” and “different sexes” are not ambiguous terms that Obama is free to interpret as he likes; they mean what Congress thought they meant in 1972.