(Katie J. Read, Liberty Headlines) Fifty-three major companies filed a friend-of-the-court brief yesterday that supports the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ G. G. v. Gloucester County (Va.) School Board decision of April, 2016, which allows transgender students to use locker rooms and restrooms that correspond to the sex with which “they identify.” The Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a brief, but supported the school board’s gender-separate policy and the continuation of privacy laws regarding bathrooms.
Both briefs follow the Supreme Court’s announcement last October that it will review the case, a decision that could alter existing sex-discrimination and privacy legislation affecting all Americans. Even before this announcement, however, there was pushback from thousands of citizens against this decision.
In its brief, the companies — which include Amazon, Apple, IBM Corporation, Williams-Sonoma Inc., and Yahoo! Inc. — said they stand behind the Court of Appeals’ decision.
“[We] share core values of equality, respect and dignity for all people, regardless of their gender identity,” the corporations’ brief claims. “The Policy undermines…policies promoting fairness and equality for their employees and customers, and thus directly threatens amici’s business interests.”
ADF argued in its appeal that Title IX — which addresses federal law regarding sex discrimination — does not forbid gender-separate bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and the like when physical differences between males and females affect matters of privacy.
“Big business shouldn’t be advocating for boys to share the girls’ locker rooms and showers—and vice versa—in our public schools, and yet that’s precisely what these 53 companies are doing,” ADF Legal Counsel Kerri Kupec said in a press release. “What they should be supporting is the bodily privacy and dignity of all students, instead of simply disregarding the rights and reasonable concerns of many students and parents.”
Other companies that signed on to the friend of the court brief include Airbnb, eBay, Gap Inc., Intel Corporation, Lyft, Microsoft, Pandora Media, PayPal, and Twitter.
Before the Supreme Court’s October announcement to review the case, ADF filed a brief representing more than 8,900 parents and students demanding the protection of privacy laws.
“There are decades of court decisions establishing that in light of the right of bodily privacy, no law grants opposite-sex persons access to single-sex facilities, where the interest in privacy is obviously strongest and bodily exposure is so common,” ADF attorney McCaleb said at the time.
According to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union, the lawsuit against Gloucester County Schools argued that the institution’s policy violates Title IX of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, both of which prohibit federally-funded institutions from discrimination on the basis of sex.
The case addresses a dispute at Gloucester High School in Gloucester, Virginia, where senior Gavin Grimm sued the school board for the recent restrictions prohibiting her from using the men’s bathroom. After Grimm was diagnosed with severe gender dysphoria, she and her mother told the school’s administration of her female-to-male transition, and, according to the ACLU, received permission for Grimm to use male-designated restrooms.
When parents voiced their discomfort with Grimm’s presence in male-only facilities, and the school board revoked her permission, she made an appeal: “All I want to do is be a normal child and use the restroom, and I have had no problem from students to do that. Only from adults.”
The Supreme Court has yet to announce when it will review G. G. v. Gloucester County School Board.