Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Court Issues Narrow Preliminary Injunction Against North Carolina's Transgender Bathroom Access Law

In an 83-page opinion handed down last week, a North Carolina federal district court issued a narrow preliminary injunction preventing enforcement North Carolina's transgender bathroom access law against two students and one employee of the University of North Carolina.  In Carcano v. McCrory, (MD NC, Aug. 26, 2016), the court concluded that the provisions requiring transgender individuals to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers corresponding to the biological sex listed on their birth certificate likely violate Title IX as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Education and upheld by the 4th Circuit.  In reaching its conclusion, the court relied heavily on evidence that the prior practice of dealing with bathroom use by transgender students on a case-by-case basis had worked well.

The court however rejected plaintiffs' contention that the North Carolina law violates the equal protection clause, saying in part:
it appears that the privacy interests that justify the State’s provision of sex-segregated bathrooms, showers, and other similar facilities arise from physiological differences between men and women, rather than differences in gender identity....
The court reserved judgment on plaintiffs' substantive due process claims relating to informational privacy and unwanted medical treatment.  Baptist Press reports on the decision.

According to AP, plaintiffs yesterday filed an appeal with the 4th Circuit on the equal protection issue.