'Battle of the toilets' to get its day in Supreme Court

2017-02-04 12:58


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Washington - The US Supreme Court on Friday said it will consider which bathrooms transgender people are allowed to use at a hearing next month, amid raging debate on the politically charged issue.

The case, set to be heard March 28, involves 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, who was born a female but identifies as a male. He filed suit to be allowed to use the boys' bathroom at his high school in Gloucester County, Virginia.

One of the highest-profile cases this session, it is likely to be heard by the conservative Neil Gorsuch - President Donald Trump's pick for a vacancy on the Supreme Court - if he is confirmed.

Should the case be heard before Gorsuch or another ninth and final justice is installed, the matter could end in a tie because the court is currently divided between four conservative and four liberal-leaning justices.

The previous administration of president Barack Obama has said public schools should grant access to toilets and locker rooms based on the gender with which students identify, not the birth gender.

But more than a dozen Republican-controlled states, bitterly opposed to that approach, are challenging the federal government in court.

Some conservatives see the directive from Washington as improper interference in local school affairs and an abuse of executive power.

Many opponents of the Obama administration's position - who point to both their religious values and questions of security and privacy - rally behind the slogan "No men in women's bathrooms."

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