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Rights groups sue North Carolina governor regarding new transgender law

[JURIST] North Carolina individuals and civil rights groups filed [complaint,PDF] a lawsuit on Monday against Governor Pat McCrory [official website] claiming the bill signed last week regarding transgender discrimination is unconstitutional and discriminatory [press release]. The bill (H.B. 2) [text, PDF], also known as the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, requires students to use bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond with their biological sex, regardless of the students' gender identity. This requirement will be enforced in all "public agencies," which includes government buildings and public universities. Additionally, the law prohibits any local government from passing ordinances to allow individuals to use bathrooms or changing facilities that correspond with their gender identity. The plaintiffs in the case are seeking a declaratory judgment that the law violates their constitutional and statutory rights, as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing enforcement of the bill.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a controversial issue in the US. McCrory signed [JURIST report] the bill into law last week in response to an ordinance passed in Charlotte last month, which created greater protections against discrimination based on gender expression and identity. Earlier this month the Georgia state legislature approved a bill to allow faith-based establishments, including churches, schools and other organizations, to refuse service or employment [JURIST report] to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs. Also this month the Kentucky Senate approved a bill allowing businesses to refuse service [JURIST report] to gays and lesbians based upon their religious beliefs. Earlier in March South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill [JURIST report] that would have required public school students to use the bathroom or locker room corresponding to their sex at birth. In December the US District Court for the Central District of California ruled [JURIST report] that sexual discrimination is prohibited under a law that protects gender-based discrimination. In November President Barack Obama expressed support [JURIST report] for legislation that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity through an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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