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Pennsylvania federal judge rules transgender students can use bathroom of choice

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] on Monday in favor of three transgender students at Pine-Richland High School [official website] and ordered the school district to allow students to use the bathroom of their choice. Judge Mark Hornak granted a preliminary injunction to the students as they sought to stop the school district's new policy that was adopted in September to provide sex-specific bathrooms or single-user bathrooms. The complaint [text, PDF] alleged a violation of the students' civil rights. Hornak ruled that the students had a reasonable claim under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment but not on a Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 claim at this time.

Anti-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a controversial issue in recent months. North Carolina has been of particular focus due to their so-called "bathroom bill" (HB2) [text, PDF] that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms according to the sex listed on their birth certificate. Earlier this week North Carolina lawmakers filed [JURIST report] a bipartisan bill aimed at breaking the impasse over the bill. Also this week, the US Supreme Court asked [JURIST report] both sides of the Gloucester County School Board case to submit letters discussing how the case should proceed in light of the Trump administration's revocation of the Obama-era guidance on school transgender bathroom policies.

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