Supreme Court hears case of transgender bathroom policy

FILE - In this file photo, transgender high school student Gavin Grimm poses in Gloucester, Va. The Supreme Court will take up transgender rights for the first time in the case of a Virginia school board that wants to prevent a transgender teenager from using the boys' bathroom at his high school, photo dated Aug. 22, 2016 | AP photo by Steve Helber via Cleveland.com, St. George News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will take up transgender rights for the first time in the case of a Virginia school board that wants to prevent a transgender teenager from using the boys’ bathroom at his high school.

The justices said Friday they will hear the appeal from the Gloucester County school board sometime next year. The high court’s order means that student Gavin Grimm will not be able to use the boys’ bathroom in the meantime.

The court could use the case to resolve similar disputes across the country, said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“Obviously, for transgender people, the stakes of this case are incredibly high. Whatever the court rules in Grimm may ensure that transgender people are accepted and included as equal members of our society, or it may relegate them to outsiders for decades to come,” Minter said.

A lower court had ordered the school board to accommodate Grimm, but the justices in August put that order on hold while they considered whether to hear the appeal.

Grimm, a 17-year-old high school senior, was born female but identifies as male. He was allowed to use the boys’ restroom at his high school for several weeks in 2014. But after some parents complained, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender or a private, single-stall restroom.

Grimm is backed by the Obama administration in his argument that the policy violates Title IX, a federal law that bars sex discrimination in schools.

“I never thought that my restroom use would ever turn into any kind of national debate,” Grimm said in a statement issued after the court announced it will hear his case. “The only thing I ever asked for was the right to be treated like everyone else. While I’m disappointed that I will have to spend my final school year being singled out and treated differently from every other guy, I will do everything I can to make sure that other transgender students don’t have to go through the same experience.”

Gloucester County school board chairman Troy Andersen praised the court for agreeing to hear what he called a difficult case.

“The board looks forward to explaining to the Court that its restroom and locker room policy carefully balances the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system,” Andersen said.

The Education Department says transgender students should be allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identities. Among the issues in the case is whether the department’s guidance should have the force of law.

Similar lawsuits are pending around the country. The Obama administration has sued North Carolina over a state law aimed at restricting transgender students to bathrooms that correspond to their biological genders.

A federal judge in Texas has sided with Texas and 12 other states in issuing a nationwide hold on the administration’s directive to public schools issued in May. The directive tells schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room consistent with their gender identity.

The case probably will be heard in the winter, and it is by no means certain that there will be a ninth justice to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Senate Republicans have refused to act on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the high court. A tie vote would be a victory for Grimm, who won in the lower courts, but would leave the issue unresolved nationally.

The Supreme Court split 5-to-3 in August to put the court order in Grimm’s case on hold. At the time, Justice Stephen Breyer said he was providing a fifth vote to go along with the four more conservative justices to “preserve the status quo” until the court decided whether to weigh in. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

Grimm had urged the court not to take up his case.

The school board asked the court to settle the matter now. It said that allowing Grimm to use the boys restroom raises privacy concerns and may cause some parents to pull their children out of school.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond sided with Grimm in April, saying the federal judge who previously dismissed Grimm’s Title IX discrimination claim ignored the Education Department’s guidance on bathroom use.

The appeals court reinstated Grimm’s Title IX claim and sent it back to the district court for further consideration. The judge then issued the order in favor of Grimm.

Written by MARK SHERMAN and ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, Associated Press. (Associated Press writer David Crary in New York contributed to this report)

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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34 Comments

  • Real Life October 30, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Just an insanely stupid argument. Men’s room for males. Women’s room for females. PERIOD.

    • .... October 31, 2016 at 8:43 am

      And separate rooms for people like you. PERIOD

      • Real Life October 31, 2016 at 9:25 am

        Would’nt shock me at all if you were one of them, Dumpster.

        • .... October 31, 2016 at 11:57 am

          Wouldn’t shock me at all if you were one of them. You said it !

          • Bob October 31, 2016 at 5:37 pm

            woahhh, pure genius with that comeback, Dump! how long did that take?

        • .... November 1, 2016 at 8:21 am

          Better get some rest Bob after having a thought like that. you must be exhausted

  • Henry October 30, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    President Kennedy, 1961: “We’ll put a man on the moon.”

    President Obama, 2016: “We’ll put a man in the ladies room.”

    • 42214 October 31, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Good one Henry. I wonder how many public bathrooms Obama’s girls have used lately without armed guards and clearing the room in advance.

    • Bob October 31, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      lol true, and put trannies in both ladies’ and men’s rooms. trannies for everyone, aahahhaah

      • .... November 1, 2016 at 8:23 am

        It seems Bob likes trannies. well we all know now eh ?

  • 42214 October 30, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    This all reminds me of the SNL character “Pat” played by Ms Sweeney. Nobody knew what he/she was and was afraid to ask. We deserve Hillary or Trump if we are so screwed up we can’t figure which bathroom people are suppose to use.

  • native born new mexican October 30, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    This is ridiculous in the extreme. For all these mixed up in the head people claiming the right to do anything they please, other people ( the majority) have the right to safety and privacy. No boys in the girls shower room. No little girls being brought into where men are using the urinal. Little boys in the women’s room are different because there are stalls but one of my friends had the embarrassing experience of having a little girl brought in while he was using what he thought was a men’s urinal in a men’s bathroom. Why do we have laws against people exposing themselves in public if we are are going to allow this destruction of privacy in the bathroom? Everyone has rights not just a few weirdo’s. The school in this case offered this crazy person the choice of using a single person unisex bathroom. What else do you want? It has a place to go but at the same time not cause harm and offence to others. What is the meaning of a safe space if a bathroom is not included in that definition? So instead of this crazy person using the one person unisex bathroom, it will use any bathroom it wants to and everyone else will have to lock themselves into the one person unisex bathroom so they can be safe and have their privacy.

    • theone October 31, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Native, you’re the problem in our society. Referring to a person of any gender as an it, makes you a disgrace. Disagree with a life style all you want, but have some scruples on how you conduct yourself. This is not a safety issue either, these people are not harming you or anyone else, they’re going to the bathroom the same as you. I have a daughter who I needed to take to the bathroom and she was too young to go in alone so we went in to the mens because it would have been inappropriate for me to take her in to the womens. The idea that people in a bathroom are exposing themselves is just stupid, they’re going to the bathroom, and you’re delusional.

      • native born new mexican October 31, 2016 at 11:48 am

        This person does not want to be female ( nature decided that already agree or not) and the person is not male. No amount of lies and surgery can change the DNA . So since it does not want to be female I am calling it, it. Nothing wrong with that.

        • theone October 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

          I rest my case.

          • .... November 1, 2016 at 8:28 am

            lol. amen wow pure genius dumbob way to go. you are absolutely amazing ! what a follow up statement that was. ! the world of journalism is in total awe !

        • ladybugavenger October 31, 2016 at 12:50 pm

          Don’t worry theone likes the word delusional it makes him feel better when he’s peeing in the women’s restroom.

          • theone October 31, 2016 at 2:34 pm

            I would never use a female restroom knowing I might run into you ladybug.

          • ladybugavenger October 31, 2016 at 2:51 pm

            Amen!

          • Bob October 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

            lol, amen

      • Henry October 31, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        If there’s a “problem in our society” theone, it’s people like you, exhibiting self righteous indignation while ignoring the facts.

        Do you prefer referring to a transgender person as “he/she” instead of “it”? Since they have the anatomy of one sex but “identify” with another, one should use a gender-neutral term.

        Do a simple google search. There are multiple reports of male predators going into female facilities. No one has a problem with escorting their young child of a different sex into the bathroom with them, like you did. Would you have a problem with a young male teenager that “identifies” as female, going into the female locker room with your daughter?

        • theone October 31, 2016 at 2:33 pm

          I address them as the person wishes to be addressed, as you seem to like to prefer being addressed as a male. I know predators have been going into restrooms to act on their evil doing, but that’s because they’re predators not because of their gender identity. Predators have long been committing crimes using multiple methods. I’m not afraid of a young man who identifies as a female in the same locker room with my daughter since his transgender identity is female making her unattracted to females . You’re just paranoid of something you refuse to understand.

          • Henry October 31, 2016 at 4:15 pm

            Political Correctness is dripping off you. Are really that oblivious?

            “I address them as the person wishes to be addressed, as you seem to prefer being addressed as a male.” Bad assumption! No theone, I prefer that you to address me as “lord and master”. LOL

            “I’m not afraid of a young man who identifies as a female in the same locker room with my daughter…” Really? Okay – I’m going to “identify” as a female tomorrow (which is a valid permutation of transgenderism, according to the American Psychiatric Institute). Give me the time and location of the locker room where your daughter will be tomorrow. You might want to give your daughter a heads up. LOL

        • theone November 1, 2016 at 9:38 am

          No such thing as a lord and master. I believe you would go into a female locker room for your sick desire. All in all you’ve made no argument for what you refuse to understand. This is not about political correctness, it’s about a human being and who they are, so please crawl back to the cave you came from.

          • RealMcCoy November 1, 2016 at 10:56 am

            There is such a thing as ‘lord and master’ if he chooses to be identified as such.
            There are over 25 acknowledged pronouns so far, and more added every day.
            As a social justice warrior, it is your duty to accept them and all new identifiers. To not accept them all would make you a hypocrite.

            Now that you know Lord and Master prefers to be referred to as such, call Lord and Master by Lord and Master’s preferred identity.

          • Henry November 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm

            Poor theone. You can’t discern or respond to the mockery of your illogical SJW positions, so you counter with insults and regurgitating a few of your vapid terms. Crawl back into your safe space, snowflake.

          • theone November 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm

            Where you two are confused about me is that I’m not a sjw, I just respect people as they are, and neither of you are anything but lost. Definitely not a lord and master, not even close. It’s all good though your’re a dying breed.

          • Henry November 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm

            What sanctimonious drivel. Sure, you’re not an SJW – you just act like one. RealMcCoy and I respect people more than you do, trying to ram your values down everyone’s throat and denigrating anyone that disagrees with you. We’re not a “dying breed”; we just recognize the world as it is, not as we wish it would be.

          • RealMcCoy November 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm

            You’re statements are right out of the SJW handbook.

            “I address them as the person wishes to be addressed”
            “Since they have the anatomy of one sex but “identify” with another, one should use a gender-neutral term.”
            “It’s about a human being and who they are”

            You seem to be in denial that you are actually a SJW.
            I suggest finding a safe space and reflecting on this.
            Don’t worry- we will accept you as the SJW you are…

          • theone November 2, 2016 at 8:00 am

            LOL you are the one ramming a set of values down every ones throat by trying to deny the rights of others to be who they are. What a joke to say you’re more accepting than I am. Stuff your bigotry and hypocritical drivel where the sun doesn’t shine. McCoy you may think I’m an sjw all you want, but it doesn’t make it so. At every turn you people and your ideology and sense of reality deny basic human rights to others because you think your game is rule for all.

            Social justice is marching on without you and the sooner you and your ilk are gone the better. The rest of humanity has finally had enough of your Neanderthal morality. Bye, bye dying breed………..

          • RealMcCoy November 2, 2016 at 11:16 am

            “Social justice is marching on…”

            Yes, a social justice WARRIOR would definitely march…

            Hahahahahahaha…you’re in so much denial it’s funny!

            “you are the one ramming a set of values down every ones throat…”
            I’m not the one forcing the majority to accept a guy in a little girls bathroom.

            A bathroom is not a ‘basic human right’, by the way.

            In retrospect, I find it hard to believe that you could really be so naive and ignorant about your SJW position. I therefore conclude that you must actually be trolling us.

            Well played, sir/ma’am/it!

          • Henry November 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm

            Great spin, theone, you should be a political consultant. “Denying basic human rights”? No one is harassing this student or denying him/her access. He/she has a gender-neutral bathroom to use, which he/she said was acceptable (then he/she changed his/her mind). The school is bending over backwards to accommodate this student, but it’s still not good enough. How about the resulting loss of rights of the other students?

            It’s comical that you deny being an SJW, but then proclaim that “social justice is marching on”. No, what’s happening is the “rest of humanity” is recognizing that we can be respectful of everyone’s rights while making common sense accommodations. Extremists like you are the ones whose passive aggressive intimidation is coming to an end.

  • Bob October 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I’m only gonna be upset if i need a stall and they’re all full of trannies sitting on the pot messing with their makeup, lol

    • .... October 31, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Well then put your make up on before you leave the house. Problem solved boob !

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