The US Supreme Court has put on hold a lower court ruling ordering a Virginia school district to allow a transgender boy to use a bathroom for males.
The high court on Wednesday (3 August) voted 5-3 to grant a temporary stay while it considers reviewing an April ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm filed suit over a policy that segregates transgender students from their peers by requiring them to use ‘alternative, private’ facilities.
The appeals court determined that Title IX – the federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of gender in public schools – protects the rights of transgender students to use sex segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer tipped the court’s balance to a 5-3 vote and noted that his vote for a stay was a ‘courtesy.’
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Grimm in the case, expressed disappointment over the stay.
‘We are disappointed that the court has issued a stay and that Gavin will have to begin another school year isolated from his peers and stigmatized by the Gloucester County school board just because he’s a boy who is transgender. We remain hopeful that Gavin will ultimately prevail,’ senior staff attorney Joshua Block said in a statement.
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter said the court’s temporary stay ‘should not be taken as any sign of where a majority of the Court is leaning on the substantive question of whether Title IX protects transgender students.
‘Across the country, courts and policymakers are recognizing that discrimination against transgender people is sex discrimination,’ Minter said.
‘We are confident that if and when this issue reaches the Supreme Court, the Court will affirm that recognition.’