Today, HRC and Equality NC responded to an announcement by Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, the state’s Department of Public Safety, and the University of North Carolina and Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina. The U.S. Department of Justice also requested the judge prohibit the state from enforcing HB2 in regards to discriminating against transgender people.
“The U.S. Department of Justice has made clear that Governor McCrory’s HB2 is a discriminatory and dangerous piece of legislation that violates federal civil rights laws,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Rather than working with state lawmakers to fix the mess he’s created, Governor McCrory is instead choosing to waste even more time and millions more of taxpayer dollars trying to defend his indefensible attack on transgender people. We commend Attorney General Lynch and the Justice Department for taking action to enforce the rule of law and protect the civil rights of all North Carolinians.”
"The lawsuit filed by Governor McCrory is another attempt to sidestep the inevitable need for a full repeal of HB2,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro.“North Carolina's image, economy, and citizens are hurting because of the deeply discriminatory bill. Governor McCrory and the NCGA leadership are risking billions of dollars in federal funding to uphold a law that should have never been passed in the first place. We applaud Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the U.S. Department of Justice for standing up for North Carolinians when its own leadership has failed to do so.”
The U.S. Department of Justice put Governor McCrory and state officials on notice last week saying North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 violates federal civil rights law -- including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 -- and gave them until today to address the situation “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.” In response, Gov. McCrory announced today that he is filing a lawsuit in an attempt to recklessly defend his discriminatory law. Senator Berger & Speaker Moore also filed a lawsuit.
North Carolina has already lost more than a half billion dollars - and counting - in economic activity just from companies canceling or reconsidering plans to come to the state, and in cancelled conventions, concerts, and other lost tourism dollars. That doesn’t even include potential economic development that now just won’t happen in North Carolina because of McCrory’s radical law, or the potential catastrophic loss of federal funding for schools, roads, bridges, and other essential services. Nearly 200 leading CEOs and major business leaders have signed onto HRC and Equality NC’s open letter urging McCrory and the state’s General Assembly to repeal HB2.
HB2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, putting 4.5 billion dollars in federal education funding alone at risk. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, convention centers, and airports. It also eliminated the ability of North Carolinians to be able to sue if they experienced discrimination in the workforce, including on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex.
Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session, and McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night.
North Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first state in the country to enact a law attacking transgender students, even after similar proposals were rejected across the country this year -- including a high-profile veto by the Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota.