Federal judge throws out lawsuit over Williamston sexual orientation policies

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WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WLNS)—A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit claiming Williamston Schools’ decisions concerning transgender identity violate the rights of religious citizens protected under established court rulings.

More specifically the suit contended that the policies deny students’ right to privacy, dignity, and personal identity and violate Title IX by allowing boys to take spots on girls’ teams or vice versa. The suit also claimed parents have a right to be notified of their children’s health decisions and the board’s policies violate those rights.

According to the ruling issued this afternoon, the case was dismissed for several reasons. The first, that some of the claims made in the suit are not handled by the federal court.

The opinion also says the case lacks merit, as the plaintiffs don’t accuse the school of actually violating any rights in the case.

Plaintiffs lack standing because they have not suffered an “actual” injury, nor is any injury “imminent.” Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61. The Challenged Policies have never been applied to Plaintiffs in the ways that Plaintiffs allege the policies will be applied. Hence, as a pre-enforcement challenge, Plaintiffs must demonstrate that there is a substantial risk that the Challenged Policies will be enforced against students in the way Plaintiffs foresee. Driehaus, 573 U.S. at 158. Yet Plaintiffs do not specify exactly what kind of conduct they would like to engage in that would be prohibited by the Challenged Policies, nor has any school official threatened enforcement of any kind against Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs do not specify what they plan to say in defense of their faith, much less how those statements will violate Defendants’ policy against bullying. Such vague allegations do not establish imminent injury.

Plaintiffs allege that this policy “requires the School District to allow students to participate in athletics, extracurricular activities and other educational programs of the opposite sex” in violation of both “parents’ constitutional right to control and direct the upbringing and education of their children” and “parents’ and students’ constitutional right to privacy, personal identity, and personal autonomy.” (Compl. ¶¶ 74, 86.) Yet again, there are no allegations that any sort of violative “participat[ion]” has actually happened, nor are there allegations regarding what, specifically, Williamston public schools will do under Policy 8010 or how those impending acts will violate Plaintiffs’ rights. The vagueness of these allegations reveal the hypothetical nature of Plaintiffs’ claimed injuries and serves no basis for standing.

Honorable Hala Y. Jarbou

The court also says the policies in question are not unconstitutionally vague

You can read the full court opinion here.

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