Obama official says Republicans are ‘obsessed with sex’ over anti-LGBT laws
Barack Obama’s press secretary has claimed that the Republican Party is fixated on sex, while speaking about a wave of anti-LGBT legislation.
Bills have been filed in more than 20 states across the US attempting to roll back LGBT rights protections, ostensibly over fears that transgender people will sexually assault people in bathrooms. North Carolina and Mississippi have both taken flack after such laws.
The Obama administration recently wrote to every public school in the country to advise them not to discriminate against trans students – which has infuriated the hard right of the Republican Party.
Asked about the row today, Obama press secretary Josh Earnest mocked the tendency of some Republicans to sexualize the issue.
He said: “I noticed that the [Wall Street Journal] noted that somehow Democrats appeared to be obsessed with sex, which I thought was a rather amusing observation on their part because it’s Republicans who have, for example, passed this HB2 law in North Carolina.
“It’s Republicans in the Congress that have created a special congressional committee to take a look at Planned Parenthood. It’s Republicans who have sued the administration over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including as it relates to women being able to get access to their birth control.
“So it’s a curious observation by the Wall Street Journal that I don’t think stands up to a lot of scrutiny.”
He added: “This is a confrontation that Republicans have sought out, rather cynically, because they are seeking a political advantage. So it’s the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature, for example, that convened a one-day special session to ram through HB2, the now infamous HB2 in North Carolina so that it could be quickly passed in both houses of the legislature and then signed into law by the governor of that state.
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“They have since walked back some aspects of that bill in the face of significant criticism, particularly from the business community, and it’s clear that it’s had a negative impact on the economic climate in North Carolina.
He added: “The comments that we’ve seen from Republicans in other places I think makes clear that they’re not really interested in helping schools across the country confront what is a difficult policy challenge; they’d rather just cynically try to appeal to people’s fears in order to try and gin up political support for their campaigns.
“And that’s not the approach that the administration is taking, and in fact, I think this was evident from the guidance that was issued by the Department of Education on Friday, that in response to specific requests from school administrators across the country, the Department of Education put forward best practices and good ideas with regard to how schools can implement this policy in a way that will protect the dignity and safety of every student at the school.
“And these weren’t just ideas that were developed by administrators in Washington, D.C. — these are actually ideas that were developed by school administrators across the country who had found workable solutions that could be successfully applied in their schools. And sharing those ideas with school administrators across the country is a tangible, constructive offer of assistance that I think the majority of school administrators appreciated.
“And that’s not the kind of constructive contribution that we’ve seen from conservatives. From conservatives, you basically have seen the suggestion that they don’t really have a way of — they haven’t really put forward a specific suggestion for how they believe that the rules should be applied.
“The best that they seem to have come up with is suggesting that birth certificates should be examined before anyone can enter a public bathroom. So that doesn’t make sense. That certainly is an indication that they are much more interested in politics than they are in actually trying to solve the problem.”