RALEIGH, N.C. — Officials in North Carolina sued the U.S. Justice Department on Monday for trying to force the state to allow men in women’s restrooms.
As previously reported, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta had set today as a deadline for Gov. Pat McCrory to declare 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.”
Gupta had issued a letter on Wednesday 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.
McCrory expressed disgust at the federal government’s demands, and while he requested additional time to respond, the Justice Department refused.
“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 in a statement. “The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy.”
While there were no indications over the weekend as to how McCrory would handle the matter, on Monday, it was announced that the state had responded by filing a lawsuit against the Obama administration.
“I do not agree with their interpretation of federal law. That is why this morning I have asked a federal court to clarify what the law actually is,” McCrory said during a press conference. “This is not a North Carolina issue. It is now a national issue.”
“This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the courts,” the lawsuit declares. “The department’s position is a baseless and blatant overreach.”
McCrory’s top legal aide filed the suit in federal court as Attorney General Roy Cooper has refused to uphold the state law.