HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Around 1,000 people turned out for a prayer meeting Sunday afternoon at the Horry County Schools' office ahead of the district's special-called meeting on Monday to discuss Title IX.
Members of 10 area churches attended the meeting. A flyer thanked attendees for coming together in prayer, "to pray for our community, city, county, state and also our country."
The vigil comes before Monday's meeting. Horry County Schools Board Chairman Joe DeFeo said he expects the board to decide to file an amicus brief to give support to a Virginia school district in its appeal of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling on Title IX, which requires the district to allow students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, not necessarily the biological sex on their birth certificate.
Horry County Schools had previously announced they were complying with the ruling and would allow a transgender male student to use the boys' bathroom after he was suspended for doing so in January.
Attendees at Sunday's prayer meeting said the ruling leaves them concerned about the privacy of their children and their children's safety.
Several pastors highlighted the importance of protecting children, and that the current ruling would potentially open the door for more crime.
North Carolina's HB2, or the bathroom bill, has sparked a national debate regarding the transgender community.
However, local youth pastor Brandon Blair said his stance is not against those who are transgender, but against those who would abuse being able to use the opposite sex's bathroom.
"This is not about transgender. Although, according to the Bible, it's a sin against God, and I stand upon the word of God, I'm not standing here today standing against transgenders or their decisions or where they use the restroom," Blair said. "This is opening up a door that would allow someone to use it as an opportunity to do harm or perversion."
Blair said board members he's talked to share his concerns and he's hoping they decide to support the appeal of the ruling.
The special-called meeting will be held at the district office at 11:45 a.m., Monday, and while the public is invited to attend the meeting, public input will not be included.