On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory filed suit against the federal government in his fight to keep the state’s controversial bathroom law on the books. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department demanded that the state back away from the law, called House Bill 2 or HB2, which it said violates the Civil Rights Act.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department informed the Governor and other state officials that failure to back down could cost the state millions in federal funds for its universities and highways. The letter set a Monday deadline for North Carolina to back down.
In a statement, McCrory said President Obama’s administration bypassed Congress in trying to set restroom policies for public and private employers in North Carolina and beyond.
“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.”
The issue erupted in March when North Carolina legislators, in an unprecedented 12-hour-session, passed HB2 which mandates that people use public bathrooms that match the “biological sex” listed on their birth certificates.
Members of the LGBT community promptly cried foul, and the ACLU of North Carolina and others filed lawsuits against the state. North Carolina’s own attorney general, Roy Cooper, a Democrat who will run against McCrory next year, said he would not defend the law against these suits.
Big-name state institutions, including Duke University, registered their displeasure as did major companies and in-state employers including Charlotte-based Bank of America (BAC) and IBM (IBM). Celebrities like Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé weighed in against the law while McCrory stood his ground.
McCrory is slated to speak more on the action at 1 p.m. ET on Monday.