ACLU and Lambda Legal Applaud Justice Dept. Lawsuit Against North Carolina on HB 2

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May 9, 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against North Carolina and Governor McCrory for violating Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act just hours after North Carolina Gov. McCrory filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice that asks a federal court to determine that House Bill 2, the discriminatory law that removes local legal protections for LGBT people and prohibits transgender people from using public facilities that correspond to their gender identity, does not violate civil rights laws.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice notified Gov. Pat McCrory that the restroom provisions in HB 2 have placed the state in violation of Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal – who are challenging House Bill 2 in federal court on behalf of six LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina – released the following statement: 

We applaud the Justice Department for filing suit and joining us in saying that neither Governor McCrory nor North Carolina’s legislators can strip equality out of federal law. This law is a targeted and unprecedented attack on the LGBT community, particularly against transgender people.

The Justice Department has reaffirmed its letter to Governor McCrory and what we put forth in our complaint when we filed our lawsuit in March. 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.

While Governor McCrory has doubled down on discrimination against transgender people in North Carolina, the Department of Justice is living up to its name in seeking to uphold the legal protections for transgender people in the state.  But the battle is far from over. We will be fighting in court for our clients until they are treated equal not just in the restrooms but at their jobs and in the community.

Gov. McCrory is now defying the federal government. He is on the wrong side of history. There are only two ways to reverse this terrible damage: The state should repeal this discriminatory law, or the courts should strike it down.

On April 20, 2016, Joaquín Carcaño, a plaintiff in the ACLU and Lambda Legal case, filed a charge alleging violations of Title VII with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.