Texas GOP pushes back against Obama's transgender bathroom directive

DALLAS, TX (KTRK) -- It's an issue that, for the second straight day, is dominating the conversation at the Texas GOP convention.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn says it shouldn't be an issue. "This is not the number one priority, and I think the president unfortunately is distracting people from the lack of jobs and the insecurity caused by his failed foreign strategy policy by trying to distract people by these kinds of issues," he told Eyewitness News.

But the issue is on the party platform. Plank 87 asks for state legislation that would address individuals' use of bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with biologically determined sex.

After President Obama issued a directive this morning instructing schools to allow students to use restrooms based on their personal gender identity, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick suggested schools across Texas ignore it.

"He has set a policy in place that will divide the country, not along political lines, but along family values and school districts," said Lt. Gov. Patrick. "I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools."

Patrick says he wants to address the issue in the next legislative session as the platform suggests.

The directive is not law, but rather guidance that suggests how districts should treat students. Patrick told reporters today he is advising superintendents across Texas not to comply with the order -- even if it were to mean Texas schools lose federal funding because of it.

"We will not yield to blackmail from the President of the United States," said Patrick.

Delegates here have their own opinions.

"My morals tell me God made man, God made woman," said Paulette Knudson. "He does not want it mixed in that particular case. I want my child to feel safe in a restroom."

"I don't think the purpose of the civil rights legislation was intended for that kind of thing," added delegate Linda Myers.

Ralph Mount, another Texas delegate, thinks the issue is getting far too much attention. "You should use your own bathroom, but it seems to me it's so bent out of shape."
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