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Federal judge halts Idaho law that bans trans students from using preferred bathrooms

More than 300 people gather in front of the Idaho Capitol to oppose anti-transgender legislation moving through the Legislature in February 2023 in Boise. A federal judge on Thursday paused a new law that restricts which bathrooms transgender students can use in Idaho schools. | Darin Oswald, Idaho Statesman
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho transgender students may continue using restrooms that align with their gender identities when the school year starts next week, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Senate Bill 1100, which Republican lawmakers enacted earlier this year, prohibited transgender students from using multi-use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their preferred gender identities. The law also allows other students to sue their school if they encounter a student using a bathroom that doesn’t align with their sex at birth.
Last month, Lambda Legal, on behalf of a student, sued to block the new law.
“The court’s ruling will be a relief for transgender students in Idaho who are entitled to basic dignity, safety and respect at school,” Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Peter Renn said in a news release Thursday. “When school is back in session, they should be focusing on classes, friends and activities like everyone else, rather than worrying about where they are allowed to use the restroom. No one’s return to school should be met with a return to discrimination.”
Chief U.S. District Judge David Nye on Thursday granted a temporary restraining order, pausing the law from going into effect before the school year starts. Temporarily blocking the law maintains the status quo until the case is decided, Nye wrote in the decision.
“Today, the court puts a pause on SB 1100,” he wrote. “It does not find it unconstitutional. It does not find it constitutional. This is not a full adjudication of any argument on the merits.”
A patchwork of local school district rules currently regulate which bathrooms transgender students can use. Roughly a quarter of Idaho schools allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identities, according to Nye’s decision.
Attorneys for Lambda Legal, a national LGBTQ+ civil rights group, argued that Senate Bill 1100 is unconstitutional and a violation of Title IX standards by targeting transgender students and discriminating against them based on their gender identities.
The law would prevent transgender students from using their preferred facilities and also “subject them to profound stigma, physical risks and the irreversible disclosure of their transgender status,” attorneys wrote in a recent court brief.
The lawsuit names as defendants Superintendent for Public Instruction Debbie Critchfield, members of the Idaho State Board of Education and members of the Boise School District’s board of trustees. Sen. Ben Adams, R-Nampa, sponsored Senate Bill 1100.
Federal circuit courts have been split in deciding challenges to similar laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Virginia in 2019 ruled that a policy mandating restrooms for transgender students violated Title IX and the constitution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Alabama issued a contradictory opinion in a similar case.
The post Federal judge halts Idaho law that bans trans students from using preferred bathrooms appeared first on East Idaho News.

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