Eleven U.S. states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday, seeking to overturn a directive from the federal government this month that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.
Ramping up the culture wars in America, the states, led by Texas, accused the federal government of rewriting laws by "administrative fiat."
"Defendants have conspired to turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights," the lawsuit stated.
Nine of the 11 states are led by Republican governors.
Amid a national debate on transgender rights, the Obama administration on May 13 told U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, upsetting Republicans and raising the likelihood of fights over federal funding and legal authority.
The state of Texas is the lead plaintiff and was joined by Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia, plus the Arizona Department of Education and the governor of Maine.
Schools districts from Texas and Arizona also joined the suit, which names the U.S. government and a host of federal agencies and officials as defendants.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Will Dunham)