This is a response to Duke Rider’s recent letter, “Longing for the good old days” (June 3 edition). He says he “wants to hear from Democrats who support this nonsense.” The “nonsense” he is referring to is President Obama’s latest executive order. Rider writes that it involves “bypassing congress with no debating and no congressional voting on this screwball bill that would never pass.” Well, Duke, there is no bill. That is why there is no debate or voting. It is one of the areas in which our constitution gave the president authority to act unilaterally. The congress should be doing important work required by the constitution — like holding hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Since it is not, why would he bother consulting them with things that don’t require congressional approval? Furthermore, this is not an executive order, nor a change in actual law. It is a Justice Department letter summarizing the Title IX obligations of schools regarding transgender students. This guidance does not add requirements, but informs districts about their existing legal obligations under Title IX (1972) that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities for recipients of federal funds. This prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including transgender status. The full letter of guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.justice.gov/opa/ fi le/850986/download In other words, this guidance was intended to reduce discrimination against LGBT children. I don’t see how that is di•erent from protecting Irish, Catholic, African-American, Hispanic, or Jewish students from discrimination, as enlightened people have always tried to do as a matter of simple fairness, even in the “good old days.” Mr. Rider writes: “Young adults and children are already confused. Aren’t the president and his administration supposed to be educated people? Bathroom and shower requirements should be unconstitutional.” What nonsense. I believe children can enter a bathroom and shut the door without any help. They are not confused, Duke is. Yes it’s true, we crazy Democrats want a country ruled by fair laws — so sue us.
Newport News Times, Letters to the Editor, June 8, 2016, Page A6