(Reuters) – A divided federal appeals court on Friday upheld a Florida high school’s policy forbidding transgender students from using bathrooms that accord with their chosen identities.
In a 7-4 vote, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the St. Johns County school board did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause or federal civil rights law by requiring students to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex.
The policy had been challenged by Drew Adams, a transgender man who was not allowed to use the boys’ bathroom when he attended the Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
“This is an aberrant ruling that contradicts the rulings of every other circuit to consider the question across the country,” Tara Borelli, a lawyer with Lambda Legal representing Adams, said in a statement. “We will be reviewing and evaluating this dangerous decision over the weekend.”
All seven judges in the majority were appointed by Republican presidents, including six by Donald Trump, while the four dissenting judges were Democratic appointees.
The Biden administration had urged the appeals court to strike down the school’s policy. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(This story has been refiled to correct typographical error in headline)
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)