Appeals court rules that teenagers have a right to use opposite sex’s showers, locker rooms
RICHMOND, Virginia, April 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a teenage girl has an inalienable right to use the boys' showers, locker rooms, and restrooms at her high school.
The American Civil Liberties Union brought suit against Gloucester High School in Virginia on behalf of Caitlyn Hope Grimm, a girl suffering from gender identity disorder. Grimm, who now goes by Gavin, asserts that she has the right to use the boys' bathrooms and facilities.
The federal appeals court granted a preliminary injunction against the school's policy of restricting high school facilities to members of the same sex but setting up other facilities for transgender students. The school policy is now suspended until the case is decided in district court, where the case has been remanded.
The Obama Department of Justice intervened in the case, filing a "statement of interest" in support of gender-confused teens using opposite sex bathrooms and showers.
In 2014, the Obama Administration declared that Title IX law, which include anti-discrimination conditions for federal tax dollars, applies to transgender individuals, although the law does not cover them. Obama's Department of Education, in turn, ordered all public schools to allow students to use the facilities based on their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
The Fourth Circuit ruled that Judge Doumar “did not accord appropriate deference to the relevant Department of Education regulations.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which filed an amicus brief in the case, criticized the Fourth Circuit ruling, saying it “prevent[s] a Virginia school district from enforcing its policy that protects students’ privacy and safety by reserving restrooms and changing areas for members of the same biological sex, while providing an alternative private facility for students uncomfortable using a facility that corresponds with their biological sex.”
ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said, "Protecting students' privacy while using the restroom, showers, or locker rooms and not forcing them to share intimate settings with members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it's an important duty of officials who watch over our children."
"Federal courts across the country, including the 4th Circuit, have consistently upheld this constitutional right of privacy," Sharp noted. "That's why it was so disappointing to see the 4th Circuit refuse to recognize the multitude of ways that its ruling would cause violations of that right."
“Title IX, the federal law that this lawsuit cites in its attempt to overturn the school district’s policy, does just the opposite of what the ACLU is arguing: Title IX specifically authorizes schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls,” Sharp said. “The policy is good because it accommodates students who aren’t comfortable using facilities designated for their biological sex without neglecting the established right of children to bodily privacy and safety.”
The Fourth Circuit has jurisdiction over North Carolina, where Governor Pat McCrory recently signed a law striking down city ordinances demanding that businesses allow patrons to use the restrooms of the gender with which they identify.
McCrory panned the decision as “bad precedent.”
"The way I think we should have done it is to allow the high schools to make the appropriate arrangements for those students who have unique circumstances,” he said. “But this is the federal government, very similar to the Charlotte government, forcing brand new standards, that we’ve never seen before.”
"So, we have to evaluate the impact of this court ruling on existing legislation, on existing policy that we have throughout North Carolina, and I will do just that."