Charlotte, N.C.
Photo: Getty Images
By Barb Darrow
March 29, 2016

North Carolina’s top lawyer said he will not defend his state’s new bathroom law against a lawsuit filed by opponents on Monday.

North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper said on Tuesday that his office “will not defend the constitutionality of the discrimination” in the new bill, calling the legislation “an embarrassment,” according to Fox news and other reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, Equality NC, and Lambda Legal sued North Carolina over the law, which several big tech businesses including IBM (ibm) and Salesforce (crm) have also blasted.

Last week, the state’s legislature passed legislation that repealed a local ordinance in Charlotte, the state’s largest city, that would have let transgender people use public bathrooms that match their gender identities. That ordinance would have let people born male but who identify as a female use the woman’s room in a restaurant or stadium, for example.

Supporters of the state bill that overturned the Charlotte ordinance said men should not be allowed to use women’s facilities in public places. Republican governor Pat McCrory quickly signed the bill.

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Earlier Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a letter protesting the law to Gov. McCrory. It was signed by a who’s who of American tech CEOs including Apple’s (aapl) Tim Cook; Intel’s (intc) Brian Krzanich; Airbnb’s Brian Chesky; IBM’s Virginia Rometty; Yahoo’s (yhoo) Marissa Mayer; Dropbox’s Drew Houston; MongoDB’s Dev Ittycheria; and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff.

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Cooper’s stand came a day after Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed faith-based groups to refuse to hire or retain employees whose beliefs run counter to their own views. Opponents say these laws legitimize discriminatory practices.

Cooper, a Democrat is running against McCrory, a Republican, for the governorship this year.


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