Bathroom debate may head to U.S. Supreme Court

Whether transgender people should be able to use the bathroom of their choice is a question the U.S. Supreme Court just signaled it may answer in a matter of months.

The justices voted 5-3 Thursday to block a lower court's decision that would have allowed transgender students in Virginia to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities.

"We are currently in recess," a statement from the Supreme Court says. "Granting a stay will preserve the status quo."

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The statement says the court is considering whether to take up the issue of transgender bathroom use, a major social issue in the 2016 election after North Carolina passed a law requiring people to use public restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.

The Human Rights Campaign criticized the U.S. Supreme Court's action as "deeply disappointing."

Students should be shielded from "unsafe and discriminatory conditions as they begin returning to school in the coming weeks,” said HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow said.

If justices pass on the case, the lower court ruling allowing unrestricted transgender public bathroom use in Virginia would immediately take effect.

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