MADISON — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that parents suing the Madison School District over its gender identity policies must disclose their names to opposing attorneys, but they don't have to be revealed to the district or be made public.
The 4-3 ruling comes after a Dane County Circuit Court judge in 2020 temporarily suspended portions of the district's guidance on gender identity that a group of unnamed parents and a conservative law firm sued to overturn.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is representing the parents in the lawsuit that targets the district's guidance related to when and how staff can speak to a parent about a child’s gender transition.
Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington in 2020 ordered that the names of the parents suing be disclosed to attorneys for the school district, but that was not done. Attorneys for WILL have said the parents are residents of the district.
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld that lower court ruling and sent it back there for further action.
WILL's attorney Luke Berg had argued that the identity of the six parents wasn't relevant because the question of whether parents are notified if their child adopts a new identity is a constitutional issue. He also argued that keeping them anonymous protects their student children and identifying them could make them the subject of harassment and retaliation given the controversial nature of the topic.