When a new legislative bill becomes law, it usually requires a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress to pass, but sometimes a few days later the law will require a three-fifths majority of senators.
For instance, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 last week to strike down the “bathroom bill” that would have required transgender people to use the bathrooms of the gender on their birth certificate.
And it was last month that the House passed a bill requiring employers to let transgender people use the bathroom that matches the gender they were assigned at birth.
In the past few months, several bills that would allow people to opt out of using public bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities, as well as to use private schools and other buildings for purposes of school sports and recreation have also become law in states across the country.
These bills have been criticized by civil rights groups and by the American Civil Liberties Union, which said they are “unconstitutional and discriminatory” and that they could lead to a violation of people’s rights.
The Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and the Defense of Women Act (DWA), which prohibited employment discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
In July, the court ruled 5-3 that a transgender student in Pennsylvania could use the boys’ bathroom at school and said the law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
But the court also allowed the law to stand after it found that transgender students who are not physically present in the building where they use the restroom at school would be entitled to use other facilities in the district that do not violate the law.
In February, a federal judge in Indiana struck down a state law that required trans students to use public bathrooms that match their birth certificates, saying the law was unconstitutional and burdening people’s right to privacy.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in San Francisco issued a stay pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the law in Texas, which requires trans people to either use public restrooms that match the gender with which they identify or use restrooms that correspond with the gender assigned to them at birth but do not correspond with their assigned sex at birth and in which they do not feel comfortable.