A same-sex couple married in Ecuador for the first time last week, following a landmark ruling last month by the country’s highest court legalizing same-sex marriage. Ecuador joins 29 other countries with legalized same-sex marriage. —K.C.
A federal judge in Virginia this week heard arguments in the yearslong legal battle between a Virginia school board and a former student, Gavin Grimm, who identifies as transgender.
During a hearing in Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday, American Civil Liberties attorney Joshua Block argued that a Gloucester County School Board policy requiring Grimm, a biological female, to use the girls’ restroom singled out and stigmatized Grimm. Block also decried the fact that the board refused to change the sex on Grimm’s high school transcript from female to male, even though Grimm obtained a Virginia birth certificate with a male sex designation in 2016.
But the board’s attorney, David Corrigan, said the restroom policy was based on a binary understanding of sex, not a “societal construct.” He said the school treated Grimm respectfully and provided the student with the option to use single occupancy restrooms, which Grimm refused.
“Grimm’s amended birth certificate does not change his biological and physiological sex, which remains female,” Corrigan told the judge.
Grimm first sued the school district in 2015 after the board passed a policy requiring students to use restrooms corresponding to their biological sex or use single-occupancy restrooms. A federal judge initially sided with the school board, but an appeals court ruled in Grimm’s favor, citing an Obama administration directive allowing students to choose a restroom based on their gender identity.
The U.S. Supreme Court backed out of hearing the case in 2016 after the Trump administration rescinded the directive, sending the case back to U.S. District Court. In March, the Gloucester County School Board held a public forum on whether it should change its policy, potentially settling the lawsuit, but decided not to take action.
U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen has sided with Grimm during previous steps in the case and is expected to issue a ruling in the coming weeks.
Regardless of her ruling, the overall issue of gender identity and rights for transgender individuals is far from settled, said Gary McCaleb, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. He noted there are pending cases concerning a Connecticut policy on transgender high school athletes and a transgender individual who was fired by a Michigan funeral home. —K.C.