Koster should speak up for Missourians

Missourians are poorly served when Attorney General Chris Koster does not at least put up a fight against overreaching federal authorities dictating bathroom policies in our public schools.

The Obama administration has a clear pattern of inserting itself into matters that are rightly the domain of state and local authorities. And nothing is more local than public education. We should rue the day when we give up local control.

The current issue is a new policy saying public schools must permit transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, no matter how uncomfortable — or even unsafe — that might make other students feel.

The government positions this as “guidance” but also threatens a loss of federal funds unless schools “treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex.”

Attorney generals in 11 states, along with a governor and some school districts, have sued the federal government to stop this action. Koster stopped short, instead saying only he believed President Obama had moved “too quickly and too unilaterally” and the state would advocate for local control of school districts as related court cases are argued.

That’s frankly not good enough for most Missouri citizens. The interests of the great majority of citizens who oppose this intrusion into our public schools should be vigorously defended.

The fact that politics apparently is a factor in this decision makes it even less palatable. Koster, a Democrat as is Obama, is running to replace incumbent Gov. Jay Nixon, also a Democrat. Most of the states that joined the lawsuit are controlled by Republicans.

We have heard from numerous citizens in Northwest Missouri who want to make clear they are not making a judgment on someone’s sexual orientation; specifically, they reject the idea they are bigoted or discriminatory. And yet, all want it known they feel harmed by this policy.

This is the message of the 11-state lawsuit. Among its claims as recounted in The Wall Street Journal:

The directive is a “massive social experiment” that attempts to unilaterally redefine antidiscrimination laws to cover transgender bathroom rights in schools. The directive disregards commonsense policies and practices already in place. At the same time, it unconstitutionally attempts to create new law without involvement of the legislative branch.

These arguments ring true for most people, including most Missourians. It’s disappointing our attorney general is not pressing them in federal court.

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