In Desperate Move to Preserve HB2, North Carolina Sues Federal Government for Right to Discriminate

By Adam Polaski • May 9, 2016 • 11:11 am

Governor Pat McCrory and leading North Carolina lawmakers are once again doubling down behind HB 2, filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today calling the federal inquiry into the anti-transgender law “baseless and blatant overreach.” Today was the deadline for North Carolina officials to respond to an inquiry from DOJ over whether they intended to implement HB 2. Justice Department officials said in a letter last week that the law, which bans transgender people from using public restrooms, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX.

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There’s precedent to reinforce DOJ’s finding. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that a Virginia school board’s move to ban a transgender student from using public restrooms that match his gender identity violated Title IX. The Fourth Circuit also covers North Carolina.

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“Governor McCrory and North Carolina’s legislative leaders are desperately looking for ways to avoid taking responsibility for the backlash they’ve knowingly unleashed on their state. The law is not on the side of HB 2. Lawmakers can grasp for as many stall tactics as they like, but at the end of the day there’s growing awareness in North Carolina and across the country that the anti-trans animus of Governor McCrory, Speaker Moore and Senate Leader Berger is driving this standoff. HB 2 is destroying North Carolina’s brand, harming transgender people and hurting the budgets of so many hardworking families in the state. It’s hard to fathom why state leaders are betting the house on this hateful law.”

The state’s back-and-forth with DOJ isn’t the only legal challenge to HB 2.

Last month, just a few days after the passage of HB2, the ACLU, Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina filed a legal challenge in federal court. And the United States Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development also are looking into whether the discriminatory law could cost North Carolina federal funding. All told, the state could lose billions in federal funding if lawmakers insists on keeping HB 2 on the books.

Governor McCrory’s legal challenge is extreme and absurd, showcasing a politician unable to admit that a hardly-thought-out law has done nothing but damage to an entire state – and that the only way to fix the problem is to repeal the law.


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