It’s the third day of the new school year in one Illinois school district, and, for now, a transgender student will continue to use the bathroom consistent with her gender identity—just as she has since December last year without incident.
On Monday, a federal magistrate judge held a hearing in a lawsuit challenging the policy at the girl’s school that, consistent with federal civil rights law, allows her to use the girls’ bathroom. Although those opposing the policy asked the Court to halt enforcement of the policy immediately, the judge announced he would not rule from the bench.
As we reported back in May, religious advocacy groups Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Thomas More Society filed the lawsuit on behalf of several families, alleging, among other things, that the school policy violates the federal and Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, as well as the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause. Sadly, the lawsuit is no surprise, as ADF has a history of drafting anti-transgender bathroom policies for school districts. Yet, the lawsuit is no less troubling: it is just another example of using religion to justify discrimination.
The first week of school is often laden with hope and anxiety—for now, this student doesn’t also have to worry about being shut out of the bathroom. We hope the judge rules to keep it that way.