North Carolina's transgender bathroom law is a direct violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, the Justice Department ruled Wednesday. Gov. Pat McCrory has until Monday to formally denounce the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), the Charlotte Observerreports. McCrory's office was notified of the department's decision with a letter stating that HB2 violates Title IX of the act, which protects citizens from education discrimination based on sex.
Though that Title IX violation potentially places the state's federal school funding at jeopardy, not to mention the fact that HB2 has become a deterrent for artists and businesses, McCrory hasn't cooled his support of the "bathroom bill." During a Tuesday appearance on local radio show Big Show With John Boy and Billy, McCrory insisted the legislation had nothing to do with directly discriminating against LGBT citizens. "We passed a privacy bill," McCrory argued. The governor also claimed his state has been misrepresented in the media, joking that the national controversy may end up costing him his job.
Many artists have taken public stances against HB2, most recently Beyoncé. "As The Formation World Tour makes its stop in the Tar Heel state in the midst of such a controversial time, we think it is important for us to bring attention to those who are committed to being good and carrying on the message of equality in this core of controversy," Beyoncé wrote on Tuesday, making note of local organization Equality NC.
Equality NC, according to its mission statement, aims to secure "equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians." To put their goal into action, Equality NC lobbies the state's General Assembly and local governments while bringing crucial LGBT issues to the forefront with their own broadcasts.
Following news of the Justice Department's decision, Equality NC Executive Director Chris Agro issued the following statement to Complex:
"The letter confirms what we've already known—that HB2 is deeply discriminatory, violates federal civil rights law, and needs to be repealed as soon as possible. We've already lost $500 million in economic impact and now we are violating federal civil rights law and risking Title IX funding. This is a travesty and embarrassment for North Carolina. There is a repeal bill filed in the House, and it should be considered immediately."
Humans Right Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin echoed Sgro's sentiments in the joint statement, commending the Justice Department's actions. "We once again urge Governor McCrory and the state of North Carolina to immediately do the same and fully repeal this harmful bill," Griffin said.
Gov. McCrory's office did not immediately respond to Complex's request for comment.