CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal judge to halt North Carolina’s implementation of House Bill 2, which mandates transgender state employees use restrooms for the sex they had at birth instead of the gender with which they identify.
“H.B. 2 denies transgender people access to sex-segregated bathrooms and changing rooms consistent with their gender identity unless they can produce an amended birth certificate,” the Justice Department wrote in a legal memorandum filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
The Justice Department in May filed a counter lawsuit against North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry in which the department accuses North Carolina of violating multiple provisions of federal law — Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
“Excluding transgender men and women from bathroom and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity causes significant and irreparable physical, psychological, economic, social and stigmatic harm to transgender people,” the Justice Department writes, adding that arguments stating H.B. 2 was enacted over privacy and public safety concerns are “factually baseless and legally insufficient to justify this discrimination.”
In the state’s May lawsuit, McCrory and Perry criticized the federal government for “radical reinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act … which would prevent plaintiffs from protecting the bodily privacy rights of state employees while accommodating the needs of transgender state employees.”
The state’s lawsuit said the Justice Department’s position is “a baseless and blatant overreach.”
On Friday, the North Carolina legislature approved limited changes to the bill that would restore individual’s rights to sue for workplace discrimination in state court.
In the legal memorandum, the Justice Department asked for a preliminary injunction prohibiting McCrory and Perry from implementing H.B. 2.
“H.B. 2 is not merely a solution to a nonexistent problem; it is state-sanctioned discrimination that is inflicting immediate and significant harm on transgender individuals. That, along with the balance of equities and the public interest in preventing discrimination, support a preliminary injunction halting compliance with and implementation of H.B. 2,” the Justice Department wrote.
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