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February 3, 2014 Print

Maine High Court: Boy May Use Girls Restroom

by Bethany Monk

Maine’s high court ruled on Friday that a public school must allow a fifth-grade boy — who identifies as a girl — to use the girls restroom.

The boy’s family sued the Orono school district in 2009 after officials required him to use a single-person, unisex staff bathroom. The state Supreme Judicial Court claims the district violated the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA).

“In other words, under the court’s logic, men in Maine may now use any public womens bathroom, and women in Maine may now use any public mens bathroom,” said Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The justices ruled 5-1 in favor of the transgender student.

The dissenter argued that the ruling goes against “the plain language of a specific statute (that) explicitly requires segregating school bathrooms by sex.”

Whelan points out that “public” restroom is an “expansive term,” and the court’s ruling essentially makes every public restroom open to anybody.

“It broadly includes, in addition to government buildings, any private facility that offers services to members of the public,” he wrote in the National Review. “Indeed, even labeling a bathroom in, say, a restaurant with a sign designating ‘Men’ or ‘Women’ violates the majority’s understanding of the MHRA.”

Read John Doe, et al. v Regional School Unit 26.


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