RALEIGH, North Carolina — It’s deadline day for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.
The U.S. Justice Department sent his office a letter Wednesday claiming that the state’s controversial bathroom law is in violation of the Civil Rights Act.
They gave the Republican leader until the end of the business day Monday to respond with a solution to “remedy the situation.”
McCrory says what he chooses to do at that deadline goes beyond the Tar Heel state — it will affect the majority of Americans.
“This is no longer just a North Carolina issue,” he said in a Fox News interview on Sunday. “This is a basic change of norms that we’ve used for decades throughout the United States of America and the Obama administration is now trying to change that norm — again not just in North Carolina, but they’re ordering this to every company in the United States of America — starting tomorrow I assume, or Tuesday.”
McCroy says he will respond by the deadline but he has not said how he will respond.
North Carolina could lose a lot of federal money if it fails to comply with the Justice Department — potentially hundreds of millions of dollars for its universities alone.
The Justice Department also sent a letter to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors telling them that new law was in violation of federal law. They were given the same Monday deadline.
McCrory said Sunday that this action sets a precedent, with the federal government “now telling every university that accepts federal funding that boys who may think they’re a girl can go into a girl’s locker room or restroom or shower facility, and that begins I assume tomorrow.”
Beyond his support for the bill’s content, McCrory’s argument against the feds is twofold — that the state of North Carolina hasn’t been given enough time to respond and that the federal government is overstepping its authority.
“This unrealistic deadline by the federal government is quite amazing,” he said in his Fox News interview. “It’s the federal government being a bully.”
McCrory also points to the fact that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act uses the term “sex” when it comes to gender issues, and “Congress does not define sex” as something that can be chosen.
“The Justice Department is making law for the federal government as opposed to enforcing it,” McCrory said.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder disagrees, and said in a 2014 memorandum that transgender discrimination claims are covered under Title VII. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission also interprets Title VII as forbidding discrimination against transgender people
Lawsuits and petitions
House Bill 2 puts in place a statewide policy that bans individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex and stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender identity. That power is reserved for the state under the new law.
Since its passage in March, it’s drawn a flurry of condemnation from civil liberties groups, LGBT advocates, Democrats and some business leaders.
The ACLU and two transgender men have filed suit against the government.
Musicians Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and the bands Pearl Jam and Boston have canceled concerts in the state — which has cost one major venue nearly $200,000 in ticket sales.
PayPal and Deutsche Bank have both canceled plans to expand into North Carolina.