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US Justice Department to North Carolina: HB2 is illegal

US Justice Department to North Carolina: HB2 is illegal

Trans people and allies protest against North Carolina law

The US Department of Justice notified North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on Wednesday (4 May) that his state’s new HB2 law is in violation of federal law.

The sweeping anti-LGBTI law that prevents transgender students, employees, and visitors from using restrooms that correspond to their gender identity was passed in May.

‘The state is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees,’ US Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta wrote in a letter to McCrory.

The state has until next Monday (9 May) to confirm it ‘will not comply with or implement HB2.’

McCrory issued a statement saying that his office is determining its next steps in addressing the letter from the federal government.

‘A claim by the Obama administration charges that one part of House Bill 2, which requires state employees in public government buildings and students in our universities to use a restroom, locker room and shower facility that match their biological sex, is now in violation of federal law. The Obama administration has not only staked out its position for North Carolina, but for all states, universities and most employers in the US,’ the statement reads.

‘The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy. We will be reviewing to determine the next steps.’

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal – which are challenging HB 2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBTI North Carolinians – said in a joint statement that ‘it is now clearer than ever that this discriminatory law violates civil rights protections and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds for North Carolina.’

They added: ‘Governor McCrory and the legislators who forced through HB 2 in a single day were warned about these dire consequences, but they ignored the law and the North Carolinians it would harm and passed the bill anyway. The only way to reverse the ongoing damage HB 2 is causing to North Carolina’s people, economy, and reputation is a full repeal.’

Specifically, the the justice department said the law violates Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act, Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act.

Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex, which includes discrimination against transgender individuals based on sex and gender identity.

Title IX prohibits similar discrimination against transgender students and school staff.