December 2016 Church & State - December 2016

Supreme Court Accepts Va. Trans-Rights Case

  AU admin

The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted its first case dealing with transgender rights.

The high court on Oct. 28 announced that it will hear a legal challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender senior at a Gloucester County, Va., high school. Grimm sued the school board over his right to use a boys’ bathroom rather than a unisex one.

“If you told me two years ago that the Supreme Court was going to have to approve whether I could use the school restroom, I would have thought you were joking,” Grimm wrote in a Washington Post column.

Grimm lost his case at the first level of federal court, but in April, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that decision and handed Grimm a victory. However, the school board appealed to the Supreme Court, which voted 5-3 to put the appeals court ruling on hold while the matter proceeds.

Religious Right groups are attacking the rights of transgender students nationwide, often arguing that allowing them to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity infringes on the religious freedom rights of conservative  students.

Given what’s at stake, Americans United will file a friend-of-the-court brief in the Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. case to counter the Religious Right’s claims. 

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The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

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