WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice has now counter-sued officials in North Carolina after the state first filed a legal challenge Monday morning in response to the Obama administration’s demands that it allow men who identify as women in women’s restrooms and vice versa.
“[T]he legislature and the governor placed North Carolina in direct opposition to federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asserted during a news conference Monday afternoon, contending that North Carolina is in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
She pointed back to the issue of same-sex nuptials, contending that it was enshrined in the Constitution, and that states that are passing laws to protect marriage—and those who require restroom use to correspond with one’s biological gender—are akin to racists.
“This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education,” Lynch said.
“And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry. That right, of course, is now recognized as a guarantee embedded in our Constitution, and in the wake of that historic triumph, we have seen bill after bill in state after state taking aim at the LGBT community,” she stated.
As previously reported, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta had set Monday 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.”
She cited Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which 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.
Instead of capitulating to the department’s demands, McCrory decided to sue the Obama administration for trying to force officials to allow men who identify as women in women’s restrooms. The governor said that the Justice Department is twisting the law to force an agenda.
“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 on Monday. “This is not a North Carolina issue. It is now a national issue.”
He stated that the issue is not a matter for the Justice Department to wrest, but an issue for Congress to clarify.
“The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set basic restroom policy, locker-room policy and even shower policies for public and private employers across the country, not just in North Carolina,” McCrory said.
“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 state lawsuit declared. “The department’s position is a baseless and blatant overreach.”
Lynch said on Monday that because North Carolina did not yield to its demands, but rather “chose to respond by suing the Department of Justice,” the Obama administration is “now moving forward” by suing the state back to seek an injunction against its new restroom law.
“This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness,” she said.