Transgender bathroom debate: Barack Obama cites the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12 to defend policy allowing boys in girls' bathrooms

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Concord Community High School in Elkhart, Indiana, U.S. on June 1, 2016.Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama has cited the biblical Golden Rule to defend the controversial "federal guidance" he issued instructing all public schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of the opposite biological sex or risk losing federal funding.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana on Wednesday night, Obama said he was inspired by the Golden Rule which Jesus Christ Himself spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount.

In Matthew 7:12 of the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible, the text of the Golden Rule verse reads: "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets."

During the meeting, the president was asked why "with all the pressing issues you have before you right now, why is the issue of which bathroom a person uses such an issue?"

"Somehow people think I made it an issue. I didn't make it an issue," Obama responded, according to LifeSite News.

He said he was compelled to issue such a policy because "schools are asking us, the Department of Education, for guidance, 'How should we deal with this?'"

Obama said schools have a responsibility "to accommodate" transgender students "so that they are not in a vulnerable situation."

He said he has a "profound respect for everybody's religious beliefs on this."

However, "if you're at a public school, the question is, how do we just make sure that [transgender] children are treated with kindness?" Obama asked.

"And you know, my reading of Scripture tells me that that Golden Rule is pretty high up there in terms of my Christian belief," he said.

"That doesn't mean somebody else has to interpret it the same way" and that the underlying issue "is going to be settled by the courts, ultimately," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Obama issued his eighth annual proclamation calling upon Americans to "celebrate diversity" in observing June as "LGBT Pride Month," Christian News reports.

"Since our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union," he wrote in his lengthy proclamation, which praised advocates who seek to change the nation's laws for homosexual causes.

"The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society," Obama said. "They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment—under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics."

Therefore, he said, "This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice."