North Carolina Sues Federal Government Over Bathroom Bill

May 9th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

North Carolina's Gov. Pat McCrory is doubling down on the state's controversial "bathroom law" that requires transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Bathroom Sign

Last week, the Justice Department informed North Carolina that its bathroom law violates federal civil rights laws and gave a Monday deadline to cease enforcement of it. The feds also threatened to pull hundreds of millions in federal funding due to the state, according to The Washington Post.

However North Carolina officials didn't back down. In response the federal government's Monday deadline, McCrory filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department in federal court demanding that the state's bathroom law be ruled "not discrminatory."

McCrory tweeted that the lawsuit was a strategic move to prevent the federal government from following through on threats to pull federal money out of the state.

McCrory is expected to give a press conference about the lawsuit at 1pm EST. In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the North Carolina governor said that he would not back down from the law.

“I’m not going to publicly announce that something discriminates, which is agreeing with their letter, because we’re really talking about a letter in which they’re trying to define gender identity,” McCrory said. “And there is no clear identification or definition of gender identity."

He also told Fox News that the federal government is being unreasonable and a "bully."

“I don’t think that three working days is enough time for such a pretty big threat,” he said. "It’s the federal government being a bully, making law.”

The law has prompted national protest.

A transgender Georgia man, James Parker Sheffield, mocked the commonly used rationale for the discriminatory bill, which claims that allowing transgender people into bathrooms makes it easier for them to commit sexual assault.

Sheffield, who who was born female would have to use the women's bathroom, despite the fact that he now presents as a male.

Inspired by Sheffield's tweet, other transgender people soon followed.

Others like Alexandra Billings took pictures in the bathroom.

Billings, who lives in California, is a transgender woman who would be forced to use the men's room under laws like the one on the books in North Carolina.



The ACLU of North Carolina sent ATTN: the following statement regarding the lawsuit: 

"While transgender people in North Carolina remain in the perilous position of being forced to avoid public restrooms or risk violation of state law, Governor McCrory has doubled down on discrimination against them. The federal government made clear that HB 2’s mandate of discrimination against transgender people violates federal civil rights laws but McCrory and other political leaders in the state have decided to risk federal funding to maintain that discrimination. Transgender people work for the state of North Carolina, attend school in North Carolina, and are a part of every community across the state. It is unconscionable that the government is placing a target on their backs to advance this discriminatory political agenda.  Lawsuits are normally filed to stop discrimination — not to continue it."

[This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. PST to include a new quote from the ACLU of North Carolina.]

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