A transgender girl was denied the use of the girls bathroom by a school in Maine. Now, the highest court has ordered the school district to dish out $75,000 for discrimination.
According to the child's parents, the girl -- who is an identical twin -- has exhibited female tendencies since he was in preschool. In fifth grade, the child born as Wyatt legally changed her name to "Nicole" and began wearing girls' clothes while growing her hair longer.
Additionally, Nicole began using the girls bathroom at Asa Adams Elementary School, which didn't sit well with the rest of the student body. After a grandfather expressed his displeasure, the child was asked to use a unisex staff bathroom, which in turn upset the parents.
Wayne and Kelly Maines decided to take matters further by hiring an attorney in 2008 and filing a lawsuit against the elementary school, claiming Nicole was discriminated against for not being allowed use of the girls bathroom. Since then, the case has been litigated and made it all the way to the state's Supreme Court.
After years of rulings in favor of the school district, the family finally got a favorable ruling this past February, when Maine's Supreme Court ruled that the Nicole should have been allowed to use the facility for the sake of his mental health, as she was later diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Justice Warren Silver wrote on behalf of the majority.
"Decisions about how to address students' legitimate gender identity issues are not to be taken lightly. Where, as here, it has been clearly established that a student's psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity, denying access to the appropriate bathroom constitutes sexual orientation discrimination."According to a report in the Christian News, the Penobscot County Superior Court has now issued a final order in the matter, prohibiting the school district "from refusing access by transgender students to school restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity." The court also ordered the district to pay $75,000 to the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAAD), as well as another local law firm.
"A significant portion of the monetary award will go to the Maines family," said Carisa Cunningham, spokeswoman for GLAAD, told the Bangor Daily News.
But Christian and family advocates have expressed concern over the gender discrimination ruling and its legal implications. Matthew McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute told the Christian News Network the ruling could be used as precedent by radical groups.
"On its face, the Maine ruling is limited to that state and is further limited to students with a diagnosed gender identity disorder or dysphoria. The concern, though, is that activist judges, politicians and school officials around the country will try to expand and apply this reasoning, regardless of how thin the legal basis may be for doing so."Should the school district be fined for discrimination for denying Nicole the use of the girls' bathroom?
[Image via Twitter]