Right Hooks

Obama Weighs in on Bathroom Battle

Obama won't let the matter work its way through the courts.

Dan Gilmore · Oct. 29, 2015
Photo courtesy Joe Wolf, Flickr

Lawyers for the departments of Education and Justice filed a legal brief Wednesday coming to the defense of a transgendered student who’s suing her school district to use the boys’ bathrooms. Gavin Grimm, 16, was told by the Gloucester County School District in Virginia that, no, she could not use the boy’s restroom. The case made it to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals before Barack Obama’s lawyers filed an amicus brief. Prohibiting this student from using the boys’ bathroom would violate Title IX of the 1972 Education Act, Obama’s lawyers argued. “Treating a student adversely because the sex assigned to him at birth does not match his gender identity is literally discrimination ‘on the basis of sex,’” they wrote. This case is among a handful of bathroom battles playing out across the nation, like the San Francisco school that declared its elementary school bathrooms gender neutral, or the case of the Missouri high school student who wanted to use the girls’ bathroom after gym class. This filing shows that the Obama administration isn’t simply content to let this matter work its way through the courts. Instead, it must insert itself into the situation and try to effect top-down change. And you thought Obama was content to use his phone and pen. When there’s a conflict involving religious liberty, governments are compelled to find a reasonable workaround — which in these situations would be a unisex bathroom. Forcing schools to allow a boy that identifies as female into the female locker rooms (or vice versa) is not.

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