The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s law banning transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity has opened a new front in the war over religious freedom.
Louisiana State University professor and law professor Mark Ricks wrote in a column for The Atlantic this week that the ruling “is a momentous victory for the LGBT community and the transgender community, as well as for a broader American movement for fairness in the law.”
“It is a moment in which a group of Americans and their allies are finally saying enough is enough and standing up for their own dignity and rights,” Ricks writes.
The ruling in Louisiana was unanimous.
A three-judge panel of the U,S.
Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit issued its decision Friday morning.
In a statement, the appeals court said it “recognized that the right to privacy and religious liberty cannot be absolute.”
“This decision recognizes that a public school’s refusal to allow a transgender student to use the restroom consistent with her gender identity is not consistent with its religious beliefs,” the statement reads.
“The school has a religious interest in maintaining the privacy of its students.”
The university is currently suing the state over the law, saying it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability, age or genetic information.
The lawsuit also says the law violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which says the U.”s government shall not establish a religion of its own or a religion that will or should be practiced by the people.”
The state argued that the school’s actions are “not a violation of the Establishment clause” because the school “does not discriminate based on the identity of its employees.”
But Ricks says the university’s argument “ignores that the Establishment Clauses were not written by white Christians to protect religious liberty.”
The law’s critics argue that the law is an affront to civil liberties.
They point to the Supreme court ruling in June that upheld a similar law in North Carolina, saying the law was motivated by a religious objection.
The court ruled that the state had no right to punish a transgender person for exercising her right to use a restroom that does not correspond with her identity.
Louisville-based American Civil Liberties Union President and CEO John Wolynski says the Supreme and 4th Cir rulings are an important step forward.
“These are not mere decisions, these are a very clear and powerful statement that discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing does not and should not belong in our constitutional system,” Wolyneski told Recode in an interview.
Wolynsk said the court ruling “gives the LGBT and trans communities in Louisiana the momentum they need to make a case for discrimination and retaliation.”
He said the Supreme decision “will ensure that all transgender people are treated equally under Louisiana’s law.”
Wolynesk says the state is also taking a “bipartisan approach” to discrimination against the LGBT communities.
“The state will continue to support its own transgender students and its own trans people in employment and public accommodations,” Wysnyski said.
“In a state that has historically been the heartland of this movement, we are hopeful that this case and the next one will make a significant difference in our fight against discrimination and discrimination-based violence against the trans community.”
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights of people with disabilities called on all countries to recognize the right of all people to dignity and freedom from discrimination.
The UN Special Rapporee also called on governments to protect the rights and freedoms of all, including LGBT people.
special rapporteur on discrimination, Dr. Yara Shah, issued a statement this week in response to the U.,N.
decision, saying, “The ruling by the United States Supreme Court, on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Council, reaffirms the right and responsibility of governments to ensure that discrimination is never allowed in their countries, and also reaffirms that all human rights and fundamental freedoms can and should be guaranteed for all.”