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Equality news round-up: News on transgender rights cases from Virginia and North Carolina, and more

Right-wing Transgender Rights

– The federal judge who recently struck down HB 1523, Mississippi’s so-called “religious freedom” law, has declined to stay his ruling on appeal. This piece notes that the state has already asked the Fifth Circuit for a stay. The normal procedure requires the state to first ask the district court, then, if a stay is denied, to request one from the appeals court. However in this case, although the state has already requested the stay from both courts and has arguably violated procedure, the district court mentioned in his order denying the stay that he sees no reason to prolong the process.

– Also this week, there was a hearing in a North Carolina federal court over HB2, its sweeping anti-LGBT law which, among other things, bars transgender people from using the correct public restroom. Equality Case Files attended the hearing and has a report. They also link a report from Buzzfeed and some other relevant information. The hearing is for a request for a preliminary injunction barring the law from being implemented prior to a full trial on the merits. This case, as EQCF notes, is the furthest along of all the challenges to HB2. The lower courts in the HB2 cases will have to grapple with GG v. Gloucester County School Board which is, as of now, precedent in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers North Carolina. That case involves a transgender teenager seeking to be able to use the correct bathroom at his public high school in Virginia. The Fourth Circuit has ruled in his favor, but the Supreme Court has been asked to put that ruling on hold while the school board asks the Court to review the decision on the merits.

– In the GG case, the school board’s reply in the Supreme Court in its request for a stay can be read here. The stay request is now fully briefed, and Chief Justice John Roberts (in his capacity as Circuit Justice for the Fourth Circuit) can rule on the request on his own or refer it to the full Court. There’s not necessarily a timeline for an order in the case, but it could come this week.

– Last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sexual orientation discrimination does not qualify as sex discrimination under current federal law.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

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