AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is joining is seeking a nationwide injunction to halt enforcement of the federal government’s directive on transgender students.

Paxton is continuing his fight against the federal directive that puts at risk substantial funding for local school districts that refuse to admit students to the bathrooms, locker rooms, dormitories and athletic teams of their choice.

The preliminary injunction, sought by Texas and 12 other states, would preserve federal funding for local schools and prohibit enforcement of the directive pending the court’s ultimate ruling.

The injunction application supports a lawsuit brought by Texas and 12 other states. The states contend an injunction is necessary as their arguments will prevail and inaction now would cause irreparable harm by forcing state officials to choose between violating federal rules and state law.

That lawsuit, filed May 25 in the Northern District of Texas, contends the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice seek to unilaterally expand the decades-old understanding of the word “sex” from that based on biology to include a person’s self-determined gender identity.

The states argue such an approach ignores lawful procedure, sidesteps congressional authorization and unconstitutionally coerces states. The plaintiffs also point to violations of the Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments among other arguments.

Texas brought the lawsuit with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and officials from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. They are joined by two local school districts in Arizona and Texas..

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