BY DAVID SHARP
PORTLAND, Maine -- School officials violated state anti-discrimination law when they would not allow a transgender fifth-grader to use the girls' bathroom, Maine's highest court has ruled.
The family of student Nicole Maines and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued in 2009 after school officials required her to use a staff, not student, restroom.
"This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people," said Jennifer Levi, director of the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders' Transgender Rights Project after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court's ruling on Thursday.
The court concluded that the Orono school district's actions violated the Maine Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, overturning a lower court's ruling that the district acted within its discretion.
The ruling represented the first time a state high court concluded that a transgender person should use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, according to GLAD. Federal courts haven't taken up the issue.