A 2-1 ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Department of Education's interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments which bans sex discrimination.
The Obama administration has pushed for years that, under this existing law, transgender discrimination is sex discrimination, and thereby covered under Title IX.
Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed writes:
The Gloucester County School Board, however, passed a policy that restricts students to restrooms reflecting their “biological gender.” The transgender student who was targeted by the policy, Gavin Grimm, brought this lawsuit in federal court, seeking an injunction against enforcement of the board’s policy.
The appeals court had heard the arguments in January, and Tuesday’s ruling is the first such ruling on the Obama administration’s policy — which it also has advanced regarding the sex discrimination ban under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Among the states included in the 4th Circuit is North Carolina, which recently passed a law limiting restroom use in government facilities — including schools and universities — to that which corresponds with a person’s “biological sex.” The ACLU, which is backing Grimm’s suit, also has brought suit against the North Carolina law.
The appeals court first held that the language of regulations implementing Title IX were ambiguous as to transgender restroom use and then finding that the department’s interpretation of those regulations — allowing transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity — was a legitimate interpretation.
“We conclude that the Department’s interpretation of its own regulation … as it relates to restroom access by transgender individuals, is entitled to … deference and is to be accorded controlling weight in this case,” Judge Henry Floyd wrote for the court.
The appeals court did not, however, grant the preliminary injunction Grimm is seeking, instead sending the case back to the district court to reconsider his request.
Did I mention that North Carolina is in the 4th Circuit? Did I mention that federal law trumps state laws?
UPDATE - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory got the memo. Check his response below: