March 3, 2017

Balderas joins AGs to support transgender rights

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New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. Courtesy photo.

Hector Balderas joined 18 other attorneys general across the nation in filing an amicus brief in a case centering on transgender student rights scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court this month.

The New Mexico attorney general, in a statement, said that transgender students “should feel safe and protected in their schools just like any other children, it’s just that simple.”

The case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., involves Virginia student Gavin Grimm, who with the American Civil Liberties Union sued the school board for violating his Title IX rights when the board created a policy to require students to use school bathrooms that fit their “biological sex.” Grimm, a high school senior, was born female and identifies as male.

A lower court ruled last year that the school board’s policy did violate Grimm’s rights, and the school board appealed to the Supreme Court.

The amicus brief, which is a legal argument made in a case by people not directly involved in it, argues that discriminating against gender identity violates Title IX, the federal law that bars discrimination in the schools.

“Discrimination on the basis of gender identity causes real and significant harm to both transgender people and to the amici States,” the brief reads. “Policies that promote tolerance and inclusion of transgender people can reduce that harm.”

Last May, the federal Department of Education and Department of Justice under then-President Barack Obama issued guidance to schools across the country to allow students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. President Donald Trump’s administration formally ended this guidance last month.

Some public officials have attempted to reaffirm the Obama directive or pass transgender rights policies on the state and local level. Last summer, the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution because of Obama’s directive to allow students to use bathrooms of their gender identity, for example. APS officials recently stated that the district will keep the policy.

Balderas touched on this in his statement.

“The Office of the Attorney General will aggressively enforce the rule of law to protect the health, safety and welfare of New Mexicans,” Balderas said, “and no government entities, including schools, should discriminate against any individual based on gender identity.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the transgender rights case on March 28.

Read the amicus brief below:

amicus brief by New Mexico Political Report on Scribd

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