January 23, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

D.O.J. warns North Carolina on antigay law but state refuses to budge

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore: “That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration. That’s not how this works.”
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore: “That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration. That’s not how this works.”

BY STAFF  |  The United States Department of Justice on May 4 warned the state of North Carolina that it risked losing millions of dollars in federal funding because its controversial measure on bathroom access discriminated against transgender people.

The next day the state’s North Carolina House Speaker, Tim Moore, a Republican, noting that the state was ordered to comply by next week, said the state will not to comply with the order in the time frame given, setting up a battle royale.

“HB2 became law in less than 12 hours,” Rep. Cecil Brockman, a High Point Democrat, said in a tweet. “Five days should be more than enough time to decide how to clean up after it.”

DOJ’s warning, which came in a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, escalated what has already become an ugly debate over North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law.

HB2 was signed into law in March and “is facially discriminatory against transgender employees” because it treats them differently from other employees, said the letter, which came from Vanita Gupta, the top civil rights lawyer for the Justice Department in Washington. The letter was first reported by The Charlotte Observer.

“H.B. 2 … is facially discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because it treats transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their “biological sex,” as defined by H.B. 2, differently from similarly situated non-transgender employees …

H.B. 2 places similar restrictions on access to restrooms and changing facilities for all public agencies in North Carolina. By requiring compliance with H.B. 2, you and the State are therefore resisting the full enjoyment of Title VII rights and discriminating against transgender employees of public agencies by requiring those public agencies to comply with H.B. 2,” the letter reads.

“We have concluded that in violation of Title VII, the state is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII right by employees of public agencies,” the letter said.

The Justice Department had hoped state would comply voluntarily with federal civil rights law “by abandoning compliance or implementation of the measure,” but that looks unlikely.

Tim Moore, North Carolina’s Speaker of the House, said he will not allow the federal government to “circumvent the will of the electorate and instead unilaterally exert its extreme agenda on the people directly through executive orders, radical interpretations of well-settled common-sense laws and through the federal court system.”

The federal funding issue is a significant one for North Carolina and Title IX violations are at the heart of it.  Title IX requires schools that received federal funding to follow specific guidelines against sex-based discrimination. 

The federal government provides billions to state schooling systems nationwide through the Department of Education. Including universities, North Carolina receives more than $4.5 billion, almost $900 million to k-12 schools. If the state is found to violate Title IX, the Department of Education can cease funding education in the state.

The transgender community in North Carolina and around the nation has cheered the Justice Department’s action.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said “The Department of Justice has shown leadership and wisdom at a critical juncture for transgender people. It is now clearer than ever that House Bill 2 is not only harmful and discriminatory, but is also in direct violation of federal law and can cost North Carolina billions in federal funding. Specifically, the Justice Department has affirmed that federal laws protect both transgender workers and students, and that HB 2 violates these laws. We trust that Gov. McCrory will not continue to jeopardize funding for North Carolinians’ schools, police departments and hospitals just to keep pushing a misguided agenda of prejudice and discrimination.”

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in 2014 directed his Justice Department to include gender identity as a basis for a discrimination claim under federal civil rights law.

Related Posts

West Hollywood, Long Beach Earn Top Marks in 2019 Equality Index

December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019

2019 was a great year for the LGBTQ+ communities in West Hollywood and Long Beach.  Both cities earned a score...

National Center for Lesbian Rights Announces New Executive Director

December 18, 2019

December 18, 2019

The National Center for Lesbian Rights recently announced the appointment of Imani Rupert-Gordon as the new Executive Director.  “Imani is...

“They” Announced as Merriam-Webster’s 2019 Word of the Year

December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

What are your pronouns? Merriam-Webster cares.  This morning Merriam-Webster announced that the 2019 Word of the Year is “they.”  “English...

California One of Top States in Equality CA’s Legislative Scorecard

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

California earned top marks in Equality California’s recently released annual state legislative scorecard for 2019 Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide...

22 Trans Lives Lost to Violence This Year

November 20, 2019

November 20, 2019

One this day 21 years ago, Gwendolyn Ann Smith founded Transgender Day of Remembrance to memorialize the vicious murder of...

Trump Administration Attacks LGBTQ People Yet Again with HHS Proposed Rule

November 4, 2019

November 4, 2019

To kick off Trans Awareness Month, the Trump Administration has outdone itself in trampling over LGBTQ+ folks’ rights. Today, the...

Q&A w/ a Therapist: “How do I Come Out?”

October 10, 2019

October 10, 2019

Tomorrow marks the 30th annual National Coming Out Day. This is the day when folks can come out as LGBTQ+ to friends, family and coworkers. Coming out is a powerful...

Everything You Need to Know About Tonight’s LGBTQ Town Hall w/ Democratic Presidential Candidates

October 10, 2019

October 10, 2019

It’s showtime, folks! Tonight is the LGBTQ Town Hall featuring Democratic presidential candidates answering all things queer. Human Rights Campaign...

LGBTQ+ Voices in the Business of Music

August 22, 2019

August 22, 2019

Nearly a quarter of 18 to 34-year-olds identify as LGBTQ+, with nearly all queer  consumers being self-proclaimed music fans, according...

CA Senate Bills You Need to Know About

August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

SB 201, 159 and 233 all aim to make a change for LGBTQ+ members — find out who they aim...

Policy Brief Outlines How Trump’s New Healthcare Plan Would Harm LGBTQ+ Community

August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

The Fenway Institute of Fenway Health recently released a policy brief outlining the harm to LGBTQ+ people likely to result...

Bisexuals Suffer from Identity Denial, Depression

July 25, 2019

July 25, 2019

Rutgers researchers find that bisexuals can experience discrimination that may lead to mental health issues. Bisexual individuals may feel discriminated...

COLUMN: L.A. in the Ranking of American Cities for LGBTQ+ Dating

July 24, 2019

July 24, 2019

By David Cusick Across the US, the LGBTQ+ community is becoming more widely accepted each day and each year. Still,...

BREAKING: House Passes Equality Act LGBTQ rights Bill

May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019

Despite previously aggressive pushback from Republican lawmakers, the US House of Representatives passed the Equality Act on Friday, May 17....

Third time may be the charm for The Equality Act?

April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019

Bill providing LGBTQ+ protections is currently being reviewed by U.S. Committees. By Jorge Paniagua Republicans challenged the legislation with anti-transgender...