(The Center Square) – Three transgender students are suing Oklahoma over a law that requires them to use bathrooms based on the sex listed on their birth certificates.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma Foundation, Lambda Legal, and Covington & Burling LLP represent the three students in the lawsuit filed Wednesday. The lawsuit names the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the state school superintendent, the attorney general and several school districts.
Senate Bill 615 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 69-4 and 38-7 in the Senate. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill in May.
School districts that do not comply with the law would have their funding reduced by 5%, according to the bill.
Plaintiffs say the bill is discriminatory.
“Being able to use the boys’ restroom might seem like a small thing to others, but it is a vital step in my transition,” Andy Bridge, one of the plaintiffs, said in a news release. “Being barred from using it leaves me singled out and excluded from the rest of my friends and classmates, but also feeling like I’m being told that I’m not worthy of the same respect and dignity as everyone else.”
ACLU staff attorney Hanna Roberts said the political climate is behind the new bathroom laws.
“But this election year has been overrun with attacks on our youth and their ability to feel safe while receiving an inclusive education,” Roberts said. “Transgender people are part of our families, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods, and they, like everyone else, need to be able to safely access restrooms.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Western Oklahoma. The plaintiffs are asking the judge for an injunction to stop the law from being enforced and for their attorney’s fees.