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US Supreme Court backs out of transgender bathroom case

The US' top court has declined to rule on a case involving transgender teenager Gavin Grimm. The decision comes as bathroom access becomes a focal point of the debate over transgender rights.

Gavin Grimm (Picture-Alliance/AP Photo/S. Helber)

Gavin Grimm speaks during a news conference following the Supreme Court's decision

The US Supreme Court decided on Monday to sidestep a major ruling over a federal anti-discrimination law, preventing closure for transgender students around the country.

The case was brought by transgender Virginia teen Gavin Grimm, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over a policy barring him from using the boys' bathroom at Gloucester High School.

Under then-President Barack Obama, schools were instructed to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identity. Last year North Carolina became the first state to require people to use bathrooms that alligned with their gender at birth, and last month the administration of current President Donald Trump rescinded his predecessor's guidance.

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'Justice delayed not justice denied'

The Supreme Court justices were set to rule on Grimm's case on Monday but decided to cancel the arguments, thereby leaving the issue to the lower courts. The appeals court in Virginia will therefore be responsible for deciding whether transgender students are protected by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in education.

Similar lawsuits involving transgender students are making their way through five other states, including Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Joshua Block, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union representing Grimm, said the justices' action was "justice delayed not justice denied."

Grimm, meanwhile, said the decision had added to the stress of his final year of high school.

blc/bw (AP, Reuters)

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