Influential Georgia Republicans have vowed to fight the Obama administration’s directive to public schools over transgender bathroom rules. One Senate leader is already planning a potential legislative response. And the state’s top politicians are under mounting pressure to attack the directive in court.
Each is a signal that the Obama administration’s guidance last week that directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity has only intensified the debate in Georgia, with many lawmakers itching to take on both the administration and gay rights advocates.
The timing seems opportune. Religious conservatives are still smarting over Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of House Bill 757, “religious liberty” legislation that would have expanded legal protections for same-sex marriage opponents. Combine that with election-year politics — dozens of GOP incumbents face primary challenges next week — and it all but guarantees a polarizing push back.