Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa on Tuesday called for civil disobedience in response to the Obama administration's guidance to public schools that they cannot discriminate against transgender students in settings like restrooms and locker rooms.
"We should call for civil disobedience here," King told Simon Conway of Iowa radio station WHO. "And there's no reason for us to follow an unconstitutional edict from the president, who is on his way out the door."
King, who has previously said he plans to hold hearings on the guidance, is among a group of Republican officials, including North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, to argue that the administration's action constitutes executive overreach. Though the guidance doesn't have the force of law, the Obama administration asserts that Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 includes transgender people in its ban on discrimination on the basis of sex.
In the radio interview, King reiterated that he plans to hold hearings on the topic, adding that he believed that the root of the administration's policy lay in new U.S. Commission on Civil Rights personnel needing "to find more things to do."
"More personnel needed to find more things to do and that is the root of this school policy or where Obama got it from," King said. "So we're going to explore that more fully. I need to be more astute at how movements begin. The genesis of these kinds of policies. So that we can go find them before they proliferate and become contagious across the countryside."
Earlier in the interview, the host speculated that his two daughters would likely not shower in the gym if transgender women were allowed into the women's changing room.
"Well, and that will probably change our culture," King responded. "We'll have a bunch of sweaty women around."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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