RALEIGH, N.C. — Government officials in North Carolina say that they will defy the U.S. Department of Justice and its demand that the state allow men who identify as women in women’s restrooms and vice versa as today marks the deadline for the state to comply with the Obama administration.
“We will take no action by Monday,” House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters. “That deadline will come and go. Obviously, we don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday’s date. That’s not how this works.”
As previously reported, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a letter on Wednesday to Gov. Pat McCrory, accusing the state of violating federal law by not allowing government restrooms to be used in a manner that correlates with one’s “gender identity.”
“The State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees, and both you in your official capacity and the state are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights by transgender employees of public agencies,” she wrote.
The correspondence focused on government employees who identify as the opposite gender.
“Access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition or privilege of employment,” Gupta said. “Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from the gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII.”
The cited section of federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against a person because of their gender. The law has generally been considered as applying to discrimination against women in treating females as inferior to males.
Gupta also referenced Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits educational institutions from discriminating against a person based on their gender.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” it reads.
But Gupta says that the courts have interpreted the law as applying to gender identity issues as well, and therefore, “H.B. 2, which took effect on March 23, 2016, is facially discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because it treats transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their biological sex, as defined by H.B. 2, differently from similarly situated non transgender employees.”
She gave McCrory until Monday to advise the Department of Justice that the state will not “comply with or implement” the state’s newly-passed restroom law, and that it will notify state employees that “they are permitted to access bathrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
But McCrory expressed disgust at the federal government’s demands. He said that he would reply to the correspondence as requested, but has not indicated exactly how he would respond other than noting that he is looking at all options.
“The Obama administration has not only staked out its position for North Carolina, but for all states, universities and most employers in the U.S.,” McCrory said. “The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy.”
He outlined to reporters on Sunday that he requested additional time to respond, but the Justice Department refused.
“It’s the federal government being a bully. It’s making law,” McCrory said.
The Christian Action League of North Carolina has called upon the state to stand firm.
“At the hands of his henchmen in the U.S. Department of Justice, King Obama has delivered his message of intimidation to the state of North Carolina,” wrote executive director Mark Creech on social media. “The Great Pontiff of Political Correctness holds the educational futures of our state’s children hostage, while dangling the money bags of federal funds over their heads, demanding in exchange North Carolina bow to the madness of obliterating male and female distinctives.”
North Carolina could lose $4.8 billion in federal funding for standing its ground. It could also face a federal lawsuit in an effort to force the matter.