U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Court Upholds Pennsylvania School's Transgender Bathroom Policy

Some decisions are easy -- even the tough ones.

In Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, a federal appeals court upheld a school district's transgender bathroom policy. It means that high school students may go to bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals made short work of the decision. The judges summed it up in three paragraphs.

"Exceptionally Well Reasoned"

Writing for the unanimous court, Judge Theodore McKee said a formal opinion will follow. But for now, the appeals panel said the bathroom policy will go on under the "exceptionally well reasoned" opinion of the trial judge.

Judge Edward Smith said last year that the plaintiffs, who challenged the transgender policy, did not show their claims -- invasion of privacy and sexual harassment -- warranted judicial relief.

That controversial decision led to the Third Circuit. Leslie Cooper, who weighed in on the case for the ACLU, said the lawsuit was a "shameful" attempt to "isolate and stigmatize" transgender students.

It was one of three high-profile cases in court this week involving transgender bathrooms.

Three States, Three Cases

Boyertown came out of Pennsylvania. It was good news for an Oregon school district.

The Dallas School District there also allows students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that fit their gender identity. But the plaintiffs say the policy violates sex discrimination laws.

Meanwhile in Montana, a judge heard arguments on a proposed ballot initiative that people only use public bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their sex on their birth certificate.

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