North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory [official website] filed a complaint for declaratory judgment [text] Monday asking the federal court to weigh in on the legality of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 [text, PDF]. The move comes after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] advised McCrory [JURIST report] last week that the law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, giving him until Monday to remedy the violations. Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta 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. In a statement [press release] Monday, McCrory said:
The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina. This is now a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level. … They are now telling every government agency and every company that employs more than 15 people that men should be allowed to use a women’s locker room, restroom or shower facility. … I’m taking this initiative to ensure that North Carolina continues to receive federal funding until the courts resolve this issue.
The DOJ has yet to comment to McCrory’s action.
North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” has generated significant controversy. In March North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper stated during a press conference that he would not defend [JURIST report] HB2, which he considers to be discriminatory. 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 said was meant to clarify the controversial bill.