Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, and Equality North Carolina, released the following statement on North Carolina after Gov. Pat McCrory said on Fox News Sunday that he requested more time from the Department of Justice to comply with a letter issued by the Department of Justice that HB 2 puts Governor Pat McCrory in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“If HB 2 was passed in a day, it can be repealed in a day, too. Pat McCrory’s excuse that he needs more time to comply with the Department of Justice after he rammed through and signed HB 2 in the dark of night in a matter of hours doesn’t hold water,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “Pat McCrory even admitted on national television that his biggest excuse for passing HB2 is a lie. He couldn’t cite a single example of threats to public safety from non-discrimination ordinances like the one in Charlotte. That’s because they do not exist. HB 2 is breaking federal civil rights laws and has put billions of dollars in federal funding on the line. It must be fully repealed immediately.”
“Failing to meet the deadline set by the DOJ jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funding for North Carolina. This is not the time to play political games. Governor McCrory needs to make the repeal of HB2 his number one priority before the deadline expires.” said Equality NC Director of Advancement Matt Hirschy. “HB2 was passed in a under a matter of 12 hours and was signed by Governor McCrory in the dead of the night. After months of economic havoc, and now with billions of dollars in federal funding hanging in the balance there is simply too much on the line to delay a full repeal of HB2.”
In his interview today, McCrory claimed he wanted to hear from the business community before responding to the Department of Justice when nearly 200 major employers have already called for the repeal of HB2 because it is bad for business and bad for North Carolina.
The letter sent by the Department of Justice to North Carolina this week lays out the Department of Justice’s determination that HB 2 puts Governor McCrory and the state government in violation of federal employment law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) should the state comply with its recently enacted law.
The letter also states that public schools and universities that comply are in violation of federal education law (Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972). If the state insists on implementing HB 2, it is now on notice that it risks a lawsuit by the Department of Justice. Further, for universities this puts 4.5 billion dollars in federal education funding at risk and endangers other federal funding streams as well. Read more about how this bill puts Title IX funding at risk here.
HB 2 also eliminates existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. Further, it revoked the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex.
HB 2 forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity, which is a clear violation of Title IX’s protections from discrimination on the basis of sex. Both the U.S. Department of Education and a recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Case reiterate that Title IX’s protections from discrimination on the basis of sex require schools to provide transgender students access to facilities in accordance with their gender identity.
HB 2 requires – and Governor McCrory’s recent Executive Order confirmed – that transgender state and municipal employees would be denied access to restroom and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. Private employers who lease publicly-owned property would also be forced to discriminate in the provision of restrooms. These provisions are in clear conflict with Title VII’s requirement that employees not be subject to discrimination on the basis of their sex, which has been interpreted by the EEOC and multiple federal courts to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Polls of North Carolina have found HB 2 is opposed by a majority of Tar Heel voters. Moreover, 61 percent say the law has hurt the state’s ability to attract and retain business and 61 percent say HB2 has hurt the state’s image across the country.
HB2 has led the NBA to reconsider next year’s All-Star Game in Charlotte, NASCAR has spoken about its opposition publicly, and the NCAA has said it won’t schedule events – including the Final Four – in cities that don’t have fully-inclusive non-discrimination laws. Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, have stopped investments in the state because of the new law. The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has even warned its LGBT citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina.