The Gloucester County School Board today announced it intends to file a petition with the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, a request by the higher court to a lower court to deliver its records for the court’s review, over the US Court of Appeals three judge Fourth Circuit ruling granting a transgender high school student access to the bathroom based on his gender identity. The Gavin Grimm v Gloucester County School Board case has been closely-watched across the United States as the Human Rights Campaign and other transgender lobbyists advance claims of new civil rights for the LGBT community and advance new nondiscrimination laws. The outcome of the case is expected to have a direct impact on North Carolina’s HB2 Bathroom Bill because North Carolina is within the Richmond, Virginia Appellate Court’s jurisdiction.
The Virginia school board’s decision came after the full U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last month refused to review an April decision by a three-judge panel in favor of the transgender student, Gavin Grimm. The school board said in a statement that its solution of single-stall unisex bathrooms was a practical answer to protect all students.
Grimm filed suit after being barred from using the boys’ bathroom at his school. Grimm was born a female but now identifies as a male. The ruling was the first appeals court finding in the US for transgender students under the 1972 Title IX Act, which bars sex-based discrimination by schools receiving federal funding.
President Barack Obama’s administration had filed a brief in support of Grimm and last month the Obama administration told U.S. public schools that transgender students must be able to use the bathroom of their choice or risk losing federal funding. Multiple states have sued the government challenging the government’s legal authority and funding threats.