Transgender Bathroom Ruling in Limbo
At the end of August, in State of Texas v. United States of America, a Texas federal court Judge, the Honorable Reed O’Connor, issued a 38 page order blocking the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance that required school districts to allow transgender students to choose which restroom and locker room facilities to use. Judge Reed held the federal agencies (such as the Department of Education, Department of Labor, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) exceeded their authority under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. He entered a nationwide injunction.
On September 12, 2016, the Government filed a motion asking the Judge to clarify his Order. Specifically, the Government contends the injunction, as written, may be interpreted to extend beyond transgender students use of bathroom facilities and locker rooms. For instance, the Guidance that was enjoined also addresses harassment and bullying based on race, national origin, and disability. The Government asked the Court to clarify if the injunction extends beyond transgender individual’s use of facilities.
The Court has set an expedited briefing schedule and further clarification on the scope of the current injunction is expected in the coming weeks. However, at present, the injunction remains in place which means schools do not have to allow transgender students to use the locker room or bathroom of their choice (and possibly more). As soon as more guidance is issued, we will let you know.
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