WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to wade into a dispute over whether schools may bar transgender students from using a bathroom that reflects their gender identity, permitting a lower court ruling against those prohibitions to stand.
At issue in the case was whether federal anti-discrimination law applied to LGBTQ students. Gloucester County School Board in Virginia argued its policy of requiring transgender students to use unisex bathrooms was permitted under a 50-year-old law that prohibits discrimination at schools that receive federal funding.
By not taking the case, the Supreme Court without comment let stand a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that found the school’s policy discriminated against Gavin Grimm, a transgender man who was denied access to the boys’ bathroom years ago when he was a student.
“I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over,” Grimm said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented him in the case. “Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said they would have taken the case. Experts have said that more cases involving transgender rights are likely to arrive at the high court in the future as conservative states pass a bevy of laws restricting transgender rights.