One of our biggest victories this last legislative session was championing legislation that protects the privacy and safety of girls in school bathrooms, showers, and changing areas.
Senate Bill 1100, which was drafted by Idaho Family Policy Center and sponsored by Rep. Ted Hill (R-Eagle) and Sen. Ben Adams (R-Nampa), went into full force and effect on July 1, 2023.
As a result, schools districts and administrators have been updating their policies to ensure compliance with the new law when students return for the next school year.
But late Thursday evening, U.S. District Judge David Nye issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking enforcement of the law for one month so that the court can consider a legal challenge brought by Lambda Legal, an LGBT advocacy group.
We’re frustrated that the judge took the unusual and extraordinary step of issuing a TRO under these circumstances. Nevertheless, there is some good news.
First, it’s important to note that Judge Nye did not take a position on whether Lambda Legal is likely to succeed on the merits. For that reason, the mere fact that he granted a TRO is not indicative of whether the legal challenge will succeed.
“Today, the Court puts a pause on S.B. 1100,” Judge Nye said in the order. “[The Court] does not find [the new law] unconstitutional. It does not find it constitutional. This is not a full adjudication of any argument on the merits.”
Second, the order gives space for school districts and administrators to continue setting their own bathroom policies in the short term. This means that schools can still restrict biological boys from using bathrooms, showers, and changing facilities designated for girls.
We’re confident that when all is said and done, Senate Bill 1100 will be vindicated in the courts. After all, other federal courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, have ruled that similar school bathroom policies are constitutionally sound.
School policies that require students to share restrooms and changing facilities with members of the opposite biological sex generates potential embarrassment, shame, and psychological injury, not to mention increased likelihood of sexual assault, molestation, rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism.
All students—but especially our girls—deserve safety and privacy in vulnerable places. Senate Bill 1100 protects the rights of every student—and we eagerly await the restoration of these protections in the near future.