Attorney general hopefuls weigh in on transgender bathroom policy

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COLUMBIA - Two Missouri attorney general hopefuls are disagreeing with the Obama administration's action that calls for public schools to allow transgender people to use restrooms matching their gender identities.

Republican attorney general candidates Josh Hawley and Sen. Kurt Schaefer said the policy is a federal overreach. 

"[Obama] just doesn't have the authority, either under the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the 1972 Education Act, otherwise known as Title IX. Both of those statutes refer to sex discrimination. They don't address this issue in the least," Hawley said. "So, the problem is the president doesn't get to write the law and what he's essentially attempting to do is re-write these older statutes."

Hawley also said Obama does not have the right to tell public schools what to do.

"This is an issue for the democratic process and for the people of the states," he said.

In terms of safety, Hawley said he has heard a lot of concerns from parents.

"Particularly, the parents of young women are concerned on what this would mean practically. They are concerned about locker rooms, concerned about women's bathrooms in schools," Hawley said.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer released the following statement to KOMU News:

"President Obama's directive is the height of politically correct lunacy and federal overreach.  He should secure our borders before attempting to secure grade school bathrooms.  As Attorney General, I will fight this misdirected effort to further intrude on Missourians' rights."

The Young Democrats of Missouri released a statement to KOMU, agreeing with Obama's policy.

"President Obama’s decision to require schools create an inclusive policy regarding facilities for transgender students is a major victory for equality and safety in our country," the statement reads. "The President’s policy is a crucial first step in showing trans-youth they have a place in our society."

[This story has been updated to include Sen. Kurt Schaefer's statement.]