CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Sept. 2, 2016 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Liberty Counsel presented oral arguments requesting the Virginia Supreme Court to review the Fairfax County School Board case and reverse the trial court's ruling regarding its illegal policy in which the board added "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression" to its policy and student handbook. If the court accepts this review then another hearing will be set on the merits argument.
Liberty Counsel represents Jake Doe, a minor, John and Jane, the parents, and Andrea Lafferty. This is one of several cases around the country, including a case in Virginia that has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court and cases in North Carolina and Texas where a federal court blocked the Obama administration's LGBT directive to public schools.
Virginia follows what is called the "Dillon's Rule," which requires that local nondiscrimination laws not be more stringent than the state law. State law does not include "sexual orientation," "gender identity," or "gender expression." The circuit court dismissed the lawsuit, stating any challenge must be filed within 30 days of a school board's action. But the Dillon's Rule is not subject to the 30-day provision. During the oral argument, the Virginia Supreme Court zeroed in on that issue and similarly appeared to agree that a Dillon's Rule challenge cannot be limited to a 30-day window. If it were limited, the school board could pass illegal policies that conflict with state law during the summer break when there are no students on campus to challenge the law. If it is not challenged within 30 days, the illegal act would be grandfathered.
"The school board act of adding 'gender identity, expression and sexual orientation' to the local policy violates state law and harms children," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "Allowing boys to use private facilities for girls violates the right to privacy and places girls at risk of sexual abuse. Virginia law also requires uniformity throughout the state to avoid a patchwork of conflicting laws at the local level. We should hear from the Virginia Supreme Court soon and we look forward to presenting arguments on the school board's illegal act in the near future," said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.