PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Oregon's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday about whether transgender students should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice at public schools. Those arguments spilled out of the courtroom and into Pioneer Courthouse Square.
A group of women held a rally following the appeal's court hearing on a case involving transgender student rights. Decrying what they say is a political agenda to "destroy the traditional family in America."
But their rally was interrupted by masked counter protesters. The situation became tense and a bystander stepped in at which point, security guards arrived.
One of the groups involved, Parents' Rights in Education, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Dallas School District.
It alleges Dallas High School allowed a transgender student to use the boy's restroom violating the rights other students have to bodily privacy.
Last July, a district court judge ruled in the ACLU’s favor, granting a motion to dismiss the case, but the plaintiff's appealed.
His ruling found that the district’s policy of allowing a transgender student to use the same restrooms as other students consistent with his gender identity does not violate the rights of other students or parents.
The judge also stated that prohibiting students from using the facilities consistent with their gender identity would amount to illegal discrimination. But, Parents for Privacy appealed the decision.
Thursday, the federal appeals court heard arguments from an attorney who felt dismissing their case without their “day in court” was not right.
But, there were also many people at the hearing who support trans rights and want the appeals court to uphold the decision to dismiss the case.
“The Dallas School District has upheld non-discriminatory and inclusive policies,” Joy Wilson, the mother of a transgender student said.
“I applaud the Dallas School District for doing what is right,” said activist Nancy Haque, who is currently the executive director of Basic Rights Oregon.
Tyler Warner, a trans student who was the target of a copycat lawsuit, was at Thursday’s hearing.
"I was told my presence as a person was making some of my peers uncomfortable,” Warner said.
Warner said it was suggested he use the single-use bathrooms.
The lawsuit against him was eventually dropped and the school later trained its staff to be more inclusive he says.
And though the court did not make a decision on Thursday, Warner hopes it will be put to bed, for good.
"I want every trans kid in Oregon to know they have rights,” Warner said.
An ACLU attorney representing the school district and the state said after the hearing, he is confident judges will dismiss the case.
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