[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Wednesday advised North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory [official profile] via letter [text, PDF] that the state’s recently passed House Bill 2 [text, PDF], violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta [official profile] stated that the bill specifically violates Title VII [text] by denying certain employees the right to access bathrooms and changing facilities that align with their gender identity. As a result, Gupta found that the bill is facially discriminatory against transgender employees. Gupta further stated that McCrory must express his intent to remedy the bill’s violations by next Monday. Should the state not cooperate, the DOJ may apply to the appropriate court and seek a court order forcing the state’s compliance with Title VII. Such intervention could have a national impact on states that have passed similar LGBT laws.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a controversial issue in the US. In March North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper stated during a press conference that he would not defend [JURIST report] House Bill 2, which he considers to be discriminatory against the LGBT community. Earlier that week North Carolina individuals and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against McCrory, claiming that the bill he signed one week prior was unconstitutional and discriminatory. Earlier that month the North Carolina governor signed the bill into law [JURIST report], preventing local governments from enacting their own nondiscrimination ordinances and making them unable to pass laws allowing transgender people to use the public restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity. Last month McCrory issued an executive order [JURIST report] that he says is meant to clarify the controversial bill.