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Georgia, 10 other states sue over federal transgender directive

Georgia and 10 other states are suing the Obama administration over a new directive about transgender students in public schools.

The lawsuit announced Tuesday also includes Arizona, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Texas. The challenge follows a federal directive to U.S. schools this month to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

"He thinks that he has this authority to tell schools that are funded how to apply and abide by what is already the law, which says don't discriminate based on sexual orientation," attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters said. 

Peoples-Waters told News4Jax that the states can ask the courts for relief while the lawsuit goes through and not abide by the suggestion, but it's going to take some time before there's a ruling.

"I think that it's going to be left up to the court to make that determination. And if President (Barack) Obama and his administration thinks they are not complying with what is already the law under Title IV, then technically, they could be stripped of federal funding," Peoples-Waters said. “The way that the states will be able to move through this process is they can ask the judicial system to basically enjoin or immediately stop or hold and a bay the president’s directive until this goes through the entire court system.”

Conservative states had vowed defiance since the Justice Department handed down the guidance. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said "there is no room in our schools for discrimination."

The lawsuit accuses the Obama administration of "running roughshod over commonsense policies" that protect children. It asks a judge to declare the directive unlawful.

In Northeast Florida, Clay County superintendent said his district will not be following the guidelines. Duval County Public Schools said it will, but only because those are the rules it's always had in the school system.