Statement: 4th Circuit’s Decision Tells Virginia School District That Students Can Choose Restrooms and Locker Rooms Based on Feelings Not Biology
“It is one of the most important responsibilities of society to protect the most vulnerable. Federal courts across the country, including the Fourth Circuit, have consistently upheld the constitutional right to privacy. And Title IX specifically authorizes schools to maintain separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls. Unfortunately, in the case of G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, the Fourth Circuit ignored Title IX’s clear language and instead substituted its own definition of sex for that of the U.S. Congress. However, every court in the country has rejected such an interpretation, and HB 2 follows this well-established precedent that sex is determined by biology not feelings. Students from all walks of life find it deeply humiliating and offensive to be forced to share intimate facilities with the opposite sex, but unfortunately the Court did not consider these harms or the voices of these children. Because of the national implications of this ruling, we hope the school district will continue to take a principled stand for the privacy of all of its students, and we are thankful that our own Governor McCrory is actively defending our common sense law.”
Governor McCrory together with the Governor of Maine, and Attorneys General of South Carolina, West Virginia, Arizona, and Mississippi filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in favor of upholding the school district’s common sense policy, noting the policy’s consistency with Title IX. Specifically, the 4th Circuit’s decision reverses the district court’s decision to deny a preliminary injunction against the school district’s policy. The preliminary injunction will suspend the policy while the case continues to be litigated in district court.
Governor McCrory reacted the 4th Circuit’s Decision by saying, “As governor, I will uphold my oath of office to respect these court rulings, and make sure these court rulings are abided to because I’m sworn to oath to do just that, and I have a tradition of doing just that. It is my understanding that this ruling will most likely be immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he continued, adding that he will get an evaluation from his lawyers in the meantime on how the ruling affects North Carolina law. “I mean, this is a major, major change in social norms.”
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the Virginia school’s policy is discriminatory, reversing a lower court ruling that had denied the student a preliminary injunction. The three-judge panel sent the case back to the lower court to be reheard. The 4th Circuit includes North Carolina, so the Tuesday ruling could help determine the outcome of a lawsuit challenging a new law in that state that directs people to use the public bathroom that corresponds with their birth sex.