The U.S. Justice Department Thinks North Carolina’s HB2 Violates The Civil Rights Act

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Ever since the North Carolina legislature passed, and Governor Pat McCrory approved, House Bill 2 in March, the state has become a battleground for both pro- and anti-LGBT factions on the subject of public restrooms. Specifically, whether or not a transgender person can use a single-sex public bathroom that doesn’t equate to the gender listed on his or her birth certificate. Businesses, musicians, sports personalities and politicians have all thrown their respective hats into the ring, and now it’s the federal government’s turn. At least that’s according to the Charlotte Observer, which reported on Wednesday that the U.S. Justice Department delivered an ultimatum to McCrory’s office that requires an answer no later than Monday.

In a letter sent to the governor’s office, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta wrote:

The Department of Justice has determined that, as a result of compliance with and implementation of NC House Bill 2, both you and the state of NC are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 0f 1964.

As the letter explains, Title VII “prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual on the basis of sex.” And since “federal courts and administrative agencies have applied Title VII to discrimination against transgender individuals based on sex, including gender identity,” HB2’s restrictions on public bathroom use count as a violation of the Civil Rights Act.

The so-called “bathroom bill” also violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars all forms of discrimination in education based on sex. As a result, if McCrory’s office doesn’t respond to the Department of Justice “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2” on Monday, then the federal government could withhold millions of dollars from public schools across the state. As the Observer suggests, this would prove disastrous as $861 million in much-needed federal funds has been handed down to North Carolina’s schools for the current school year.

As of this writing, Governor McCrory hasn’t responded officially to the Department of Justice letter.

(Via the Charlotte Observer)