North Carolina’s HB2 Ruled Discriminatory by Federal Government

"Bathroom bill" violates U.S. Civil Rights Act

House Bill 2, which was signed by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on March 23, 2016, has been determined to be in violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act by the U.S. Justice Department. HB2 was ruled to be discriminatory against transgender employees because it results in separate and worse treatment for those whose gender identity does not match their biological sex. The bill would allow cisgender state employees access to the changing facilities and restrooms that match their gender identity but would not allow that same right to transgender individuals.

 

In addition to HB2’s violation of federal civil rights laws, the bill has attracted negative attention to the state of North Carolina where large businesses and media influencers are calling for a boycott of the state. A letter from the Deputy Assistant Attorney General states that North Carolina has until Monday to remedy the violations connected to HB2. The Obama administration has reached out to Governor McCrory (a staunch defender of the discriminatory legislation) in hopes that he will release a statement of his own volition saying he will not enforce this bill.

 

While much discussion has focused on the consequences of this bill for state employees, it would dramatically damage other aspects of life for people involved in any institution funded by the state in North Carolina. If the University of North Carolina observed HB2, for example, they would be in violation of Title IX. This could result in the federal government pulling funding completely from the University, possibly putting billions of dollars at risk.

 

The refusal to pull the bill would also have serious ramifications on funding for public safety. North Carolina currently receives funds from the Office on Violence Against Women. If they do not stop HB2 from moving forward, the state would be in violation of that office's non-discrimination provision and would have their funds pulled.

 

Proponents of HB2 are attempting to argue that Obama’s administration is trying to circumvent the standard legislative process by issuing this “edict.” They also claim that if HB2 is in fact repealed, it will set a precarious precedent for federal government involvement in state matters.

 

Both these statements seem to ignore the fact that this bill not only goes against an individual's right to equal treatment under the law, but, as stated by the U.S Secretary of Education, John King, "They are hateful laws, and should be repealed."