Last month, in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a landmark ruling holding that the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination prohibits discrimination against transgender students. The U.S. Department of Education had issued its formal interpretation of Title IX and its regulations and held that “when a school elects to separate or treat students differently on the basis of sex ... a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.” The appeals court held that it must defer to the agency’s interpretation of the law because the interpretation is reasonable and the law itself is ambiguous on the issue of transgender students. The decision sets federal legal precedent for Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Prison holds a particular set of horrors for the transgender community. Until recently, American prisons housed transgender inmates by genitalia, and gender-confirming treatments of any kind were unavailable to the vast majority of transgender inmates.
Over the past few weeks, three different federal courts have mandated that a county clerk in Kentucky must issue marriage licenses to gay couples regardless of the clerk’s personal opposition to gay marriage.
Last week, in Roe v. Patton, a federal court in Utah ruled that Utah must recognize a same-sex married couple as the legal parents of their child from birth. Under Utah state law, if a woman becomes pregnant with donated sperm, her husband is automatically recognized as the father even though he is not the biological father. In Roe, the federal court found that this same law must apply equally to a same-sex married couple.