Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

House Members Act to Restore Congressional Authority on Transgender Definition

June 7, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today Rep. Pete Olson (TX) was joined by Reps. Ralph Abraham (LA), Brian Babin (TX) and Vicky Hartzler (MO) in introducing legislation to remove lawmaking authority from unelected federal bureaucrats and reinstate that power to Congress. The Representatives introduced H.R. 2796, the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017. This bill will ensure that gender identity is not treated as a protected class in Federal Law or Policy without the approval of Congress.

Rep. Pete Olson said, “The Obama Administration strongly overreached by unilaterally redefining the definition of “sex” with respect to the Civil Rights Act outside of the lawmaking process. We must reject the notion of false power stolen from Congress by a White House seeking to impose social policy on America. The Founding Fathers never intended unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies to make sweeping changes to the definition of gender. While we have a new president in office, we must restore the voice of the people given to them by our Constitution and put an end to this dangerous precedent of removing Congress’ power to make laws.” 

Rep. Ralph Abraham said, “The Obama Administration blatantly tried to hijack Congress’ role of writing law when it contorted the definition of sex and gender to advance its liberal agenda. We can’t allow that to happen again. Passing the Civil Rights Uniformity Act will remove all ambiguity from the law across the federal government and protect the long-held understanding of what sex and gender are.”

Rep. Brian Babin said, “The Obama Administration used brute force and coercion to compel states and localities to accept its redefinition of sex to include ‘gender identity.’ Though the Trump Administration has rolled back most of these overreaching executive orders, the Civil Rights Uniformity Act would ensure that any redefinition of sex by the U.S. government would have to originate from Congress and be passed into law, preventing future executive overreach. This bill preserves the power of Congress and restores the voice of the people to make sure that ‘gender identity’ is not conflated with biological sex without explicit approval by the people’s representatives in Congress.”

Rep. Vicky Hartzler said, “The fact is, the Obama Administration reinterpreted the law and circumvented the will of the people. Congress writes the laws, not the President. The Civil Rights Uniformity Act returns control of decisions on civil rights to Congress where it belongs.”

Background on need for H.R.2796: In September of 2015, citing the Civil Rights Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Civil Rights, proposed a rule to interpret Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to redefine prohibitions on “sex” discrimination in healthcare programs to include “sex stereotyping,” “gender identity,” and “termination of pregnancy.” This could leave healthcare providers vulnerable to extensive liability should they refuse to participate in or pay for “gender transition” treatments or “sex change” operations based on medical opinion, moral, ethical, or religious reasons. The Heritage Action For America and American Association of Christian Schools have both come out in strong support for this legislation.


Media Contact: Melissa Kelly