Monday, June 10, 2013

Trans-Student Rights

There is a case going to the Maine Supreme Court on Wednesday about trans-students, you may remember a case last year in Maine where a trans-girl in a school in Maine was forced to use the staff bathroom. Maine’s commission on Human Rights ruled in favor of the student but that was overturned by a court and the judge said that the school had no obligation to let the trans-girl use the girl’s bathroom. Now the Maine Supreme Court will hear the case on the judge’s ruling.
High court to hear arguments in transgender bathroom case Wednesday
Bangor Daily News
By Judy Harrison
June 10, 2013

BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday will consider the appeal of a transgender girl and her family, who sued Orono school officials over her access to the girls bathroom.

Justices will convene Tuesday and Wednesday in Bangor to hear oral arguments in a dozen cases, including the one known as Doe v. Clenchy.

The incident that sparked the court case began in 2007 when a child, who was born male but identifies as female, was forced to stop using the girls bathroom at the Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono. She was told to use a staff bathroom after the grandfather of a male student complained.

The girl’s parents and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued the Orono School District, now called Riverside RSU 26, and then Superintendent Kelly Clenchy after the commission ruled in the girl’s favor.
The case was heard by Justice William Anderson who back in November ruled that, “The law casts a broad stroke where one more delicate and refined is needed.” However, the legislature did not choose to write a narrowly defined law and chose an all-encompassing law and also the legislature early in 2011 voted down a bill to exempt bathrooms from the anti-discrimination law. The Bangor Daily News wrote,
The state Senate voted Wednesday to kill legislation addressing the use of public restrooms by transgender individuals, a bill that supporters said was meant to help businesses and schools in an untenable situation but that opponents said was fueled by bigotry and hatred.
Newport Republican Rep. Ken Fredette’s defeated bill stemmed from a pair of cases that are being decided in Superior Court. In Orono, a boy who identifies as a girl wasn’t allowed to use the girls bathroom in a middle school. In Auburn, a restaurant barred a transgender woman from using the ladies room.
In spite of this Judge Anderson ruled on his narrow interpretation so most legal advocates believe the judge’s ruling will be overturned.

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