The U.S. Government has laid down the law — literally — when it comes to North Carolina's controversial anti-transgender bathroom bill.
Last Wednesday, the Justice Department warned governor Pat McCrory that the state's recent anti-LGBT state law violates federal civil rights laws. U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta sent a letter to Gov. McCrory, saying that "the state is engaging in a pattern of practice of discrimination against transgender state employees."
Gupta is referencing the law known as HB2, which bans transgender people access to restrooms that match their gender identity in government buildings and schools. Gupta added that doing so is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
McCrory responded saying that the Obama administration "has not only staked out its position for North Carolina, but for all states, universities and most employees in the U.S. The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy." McCrory has stated numerous times that he believes transgender people pose a threat in women's bathrooms.
Critics of HB2 believe it defends those who may engage in homophobic, or transphobic acts.
With HB2, Gupta said, McCrory and North Carolina are exhibiting a “pattern or practice of resistance” to transgender employees of public agencies fully enjoy their Title VII rights. “Access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition, or privilege of employment,” Gupta wrote. “Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from the gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII.”
This bill has faced huge backlash from Hollywood, and music industry, and has even been condemned by the world of sports, with both the NBA and NFL threatening to change their future plans should bills like this pass in North Carolina, and other states.
Gupta noted that the Department of Justice hopes North Carolina will comply with the DOJ's request voluntarily, but also said that if the state does not comply, Attorney General Loretta Lynch could seek a court order to force compliance.
(Photo: Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)