The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday closed the door on an Obama administration objective to redefine the term “sex” in federal law to include whatever gender a person may feel like on a particular day.
Barack Obama issued an order last year to public schools presuming that when Congress adopted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, its members intended to allow boys who “identify” as girls into girls’ restrooms and showers, and vice versa.
In the case, a girl, Gavin Grimm, insisted on using the boys’ restrooms in the Gloucester school district in Virginia based on her “gender identity.”
The school district resisted, the dispute went to court, and at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges granted the girl permission, based on Obama’s order.
But President Donald Trump reversed the order, and the Supreme Court, which had accepted the school district’s appeal of the 4th Circuit ruling already, sent the case back to the lower court.
“The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February, 22, 2017,” the high court said in its only comment on the case.
Obama’s order ignored the rights of millions of other students to not be unclothed in the presence of someone of the opposite gender.
Obama’s move also would have opened up schools for liability should they, for example, require boys to room together on school field trips. Obama’s plan would have required a school to allow a boy to room with a girl.
“The first duty of school districts is to protect the bodily privacy rights of all of the students who attend their schools and to respect the rights of parents who understandably don’t want their children exposed in intimate changing areas like locker rooms and showers,” said Kerri Kupec of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which fought the Obama administration over the issue.
“President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and Education Secretary DeVos rightly rescinded the faulty directive that the Departments of Education and Justice had issued during the Obama administration. It only makes sense for the Supreme Court to vacate the 4th Circuit’s earlier decision and instruct it to reconsider this case,” she said.
“The 4th Circuit should affirm the plain meaning of Title IX, which protects boys’ and girls’ privacy in locker rooms, showers, and restrooms. School officials should be free to protect their students’ privacy, safety, and dignity without federal government interference.”
The term “sex” in the federal law, until Obama tried to change it, simply meant the gender at birth, male or female.
“Big business shouldn’t be advocating for boys to share the girls’ locker rooms and showers – and vice versa – in our public schools, and yet that’s precisely what these 53 companies are doing,” Kupec said at the time.
Kupec noted the companies say in their brief that they “recognize that employees cannot work as effectively when they are worried about how their children are being treated at school.”
But the companies, Kupec said, are “completely unconcerned about the dad who knows his daughter has to change for gym with a boy in her locker room.”
“Worse, the companies would characterize that dad as having a ‘lack of any reasoned justification’ for his concerns, as the brief puts it, or as having a lower ‘level of enlightenment,’ as some activists have revealingly stated. The first duty of school districts is to protect the bodily privacy rights of all of the students who attend their schools and to respect the rights of parents who understandably don’t want their children exposed in intimate changing areas.”
The companies joining in the failed effort urging the Supreme Court to open restrooms nationwide include Affirm, Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Asana, Box, Codecademy, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Ebay, Etsy, Fastly, Flipboard, Gap, General Assembly Space, GitHub, IBM, Intel, Kickstarter, Knotel, LinkedIn, Lyft, M Booth, MAC Cosmetics, Mapbox, Marin Software, Massachusetts Mutual, Microsoft, Mitchell Gold, MongoDB, NetApp, Next Fifteen, Nextdoor, Pandora, Paypal, Postmates, RetailMeNot, Salesforce, Shutterstock, Slack Tech, Spotify, OutCast Agency, WhiteWave Foods, Tumblr, Twilio, Twitter, Udacity and Warby Parker.
Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, which has fought some of the transgender bathroom cases, said the move by Trump was significant.
“Removing this lawless directive from the Obama administration will do a lot to get the federal government off the backs of these local schools,” said Staver, who says the Obama order put girls in vulnerable situations with biological males.
He said the backlash by liberals and the media is unreasonable, as if “there is something horrible” that Trump did.
“Frankly, he’s just following the law. The law does not include gender identity, or sexual orientation, or gender expression – or whatever you want to say – to the non-discrimination categories,” said Staver.