North Carolina Sues the Federal Government…& the U.S. Sues Right Back (Video)
On May 5, news of the United States Justice Department’s ultimatum to North Carolina over what has been nicknamed the “Bathroom Bill” made headlines, and for good cause. In that state, legislation formally known as House Bill 2 (HB2) made it okay for the state to force transgendered men and women to use the restrooms which matched the sex assigned to them at birth, barring them from the right to frequent the restroom which best suited their self-identity. In that ultimatum, the federal government gave North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and other state legislators today (May 9) as a deadline for repealing HB2 or face consequences such as restrictions on federal funding for the state, which McCrory and others decried as dictatorial and evidence of the feds overreaching into the rights of states. In the latest development, North Carolina has responded to the ultimatum and it’s clear neither side is backing down.
As reported by NPR, North Carolina is suing the Department of Justice, arguing that the federal government’s claim that HB2 is in violation of civil rights is not true. “The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina. This is now a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level,” says McCrory. However, Attorney General Loretta Lynch isn’t having it, and has made it clear in statements of her own that North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill is clearly a form of gender discrimination – and so the Department of Justice is suing right back.
In her own words, “[t]his is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them,” adding there is precedent on the side of transgender rights. “This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry,” she states.
The battle between the United States and North Carolina is ongoing, and is likely to be the source of much heated debate as the story unfolds.