A judge has ruled that Christian-owned craft chain violated the law when it refused to let a transgender person use the women’s bathroom after transitioning.

Administrative Law Judge William Borah ruled that a Hobby Lobby store in Illinois violated the state’s Human Rights Act by refusing to let employee Meggan Sommerville use the female restroom after transitioning. Sommerville has worked at the Hobby Lobby in East Aurora, Illinois since 1998.

Sommerville suffers from fibromyalgia, which means she has to use the restroom more often. Hobby Lobby gave her two options: use the men’s room or wait several hours for lunch to go to a nearby fast food place. She was written up for using the men’s bathroom at Hobby Lobby on her day off while she was shopping as a customer.

At one point, Hobby Lobby required Sommerville to provide proof that she had transitional surgery “on her genitals.” The store then required her to provide an updated birth certificate to be recognized as a woman. Borah didn’t honor Hobby Lobby’s demands.

“Respondent contends that being anatomically correct makes a female,” Borah wrote. “However, the absence of male genitalia does not make a female, as that could occur by illness or injury. Nothing in the Act makes any surgical procedure a prerequisite for its protection of sexual related identity. Therefore, Respondent’s unilateral surgical requirement is untenable.”
Hobby Lobby’s discrimination can go only so far, it seems.

For more on this story, visit ThinkProgressJudge Tells Hobby Lobby To Stop Discriminating Against Trans Employee”

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He also hosts the weekly DeSmogCAST and serves as co-host for Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced