Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Showdown looms over North Carolina's bathroom bill

Update: North Carolina counter-sues the Department of Justice


The United States and North Carolina tangled over transgender rights on Monday, with the Justice Department filing a civil rights lawsuit over the state's so-called bathroom bill and state officials defiantly filing suits against the federal directive to stop the implementation of the controversial legislation.

Also, a major player in North Carolina -- the state's public university system -- defied the governor and legislature and told the Justice Department on Monday it intends to act "in compliance with federal law" as it relates to House Bill 2, known as HB2.

The Justice Department seeks declaratory relief and threatens to curtail federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina.

Update: New polls show that what American's think about this issue depends upon how the question is worded

Washington Post

This is one of those issues where it's easy to slice and dice the numbers to make your case that you are doing the popular thing. Americans' -- and particularly Republicans' -- support for bathroom bills might depend how you frame the question. As we saw in Houston in November, opponents of an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance overwhelmingly defeated it by framing the issue about bathrooms, specifically the predators who might exploit an open-door policy.

It's deadline day for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

The U.S. Justice Department sent his office a letter Wednesday claiming that the state's controversial bathroom law is in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

They gave the Republican leader until the end of the business day Monday to respond with a solution to "remedy the situation."

The controversial law bans individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex.

McCrory says what he chooses to do at that deadline goes beyond the Tar Heel state -- it will affect the majority of Americans.

"This is no longer just a North Carolina issue," he said in a Fox News interview on Sunday. "This is a basic change of norms that we've used for decades throughout the United States of America and the Obama administration is now trying to change that norm -- again not just in North Carolina, but they're ordering this to every company in the United States of America -- starting tomorrow I assume, or Tuesday."

McCroy says he will respond by the deadline but he has not said how he will respond.

North Carolina could lose a lot of federal money if it fails to comply with the Justice Department -- potentially hundreds of millions of dollars for its universities alone.

The Justice Department also sent a letter to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors telling them that new law was in violation of federal law. They were given the same Monday deadline.

McCrory said Sunday that this action sets a precedent, with the federal government "now telling every university that accepts federal funding that boys who may think they're a girl can go into a girl's locker room or restroom or shower facility, and that begins I assume tomorrow." [...]

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