Girls in Government Schools in Idaho Won’t Have to See Boys in Their Restrooms

A court that previously issued an injunction against a law in Idaho that bars students from using facilities in government schools designated for the opposite sex — and also gives these students the right to sue if they encounter an opposite-sex student in their facilities — lifted the injunction last week.

The law will go into effect 21 days from the date of the court’s order.

Two boys pretending to be girls who wanted to use facilities designated for girls filed a lawsuit.

“This is a difficult case,” the court wrote (PDF). “Each of the parties before the Court seek to protect important individual rights. The critical question, however, is what happens when individuals’ rights converge and those rights struggle to co-exist?”

The case isn’t difficult at all. There is no right, constitutional or otherwise, for a man to use a restroom designated for women, and vice versa. Legitimate reasons of privacy, safety, and modesty justify separate facilities.

The court contended that it previously blocked the law’s enforcement to allow the parties “more time to fully address the difficult issues involved in this case” but decided to allow the law to take effect because the plaintiffs “have not shown they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims.”

The decision is not meant to imply that the plaintiffs couldn’t succeed on the merits, the court stated, but that the court “must stay in its lane…[and] cannot provide guidance on how elected officials should navigate these difficult situations. It can only decide whether the action they have taken withstands constitutional scrutiny.” (Emphasis in original.)

From Liberty Counsel, which represents the defendants, including the Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction:

At least nine states have laws requiring public school students to use facilities that align to their biological sex (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee).

In January 2023, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-4 that a Florida public school district’s bathroom policy did not violate the equal protection law or the federal Title IX law because it also distinguished based on biological sex only and treated all students equally.

Photo credit: sarahmirkOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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