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Rokita supports Martinsville schools appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

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(The Center Square) – Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita came out Thursday to support a public school district taking its case regarding gender identity to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction that requires the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville to allow a middle school student who identifies as a male to use the boys’ facilities.

Rokita said he applauded the district’s decision to fight a mandate for “coed bathrooms” in schools.

“Nothing in the U.S. Constitution, Title IX or any other federal law requires schools to have coed bathrooms, locker rooms and showers, which pose a direct threat to the health, privacy, safety and security of our children,” Rokita said. “Accordingly, federal courts should never mandate that boys and girls must be able to use the same school bathrooms depending on gender identity.”

The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit on behalf of the student in December 2021, arguing the district, about 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis, violated federal law and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Kenneth Falk, an attorney for the ACLU of Indiana, said after the Seventh Circuit’s ruling that schools should be safe places for all kids.

“Students who are denied access to the appropriate facilities are caused both serious emotional and physical harm as they are denied recognition of who they are,” Falk said. “They will often avoid using the restroom altogether while in school.”

Vigo County School Corporation is also a defendant in the case. Rokita said he would “strongly encourage” leaders in the West Central Indiana district to join Martinsville leaders in the appeal.

While the Seventh Circuit has upheld the injunction, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled otherwise in a similar case, allowing a Florida school to enact a ban.

“Amid such inconsistency, the time is ripe for the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the dispute over coed bathrooms once and for all—for the sake of children, parents, schools, and the rule of law,” Rokita said.

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