DOJ Asks Court to Block |N.C. Transgender Law

     (CN) – The Justice Department asked a federal judge to block a North Carolina law requiring people to use restrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificate.
     In a request for a preliminary injunction filed late Tuesday, the department cites the harassment of transgender people that’s occurred since the measure was enacted last spring.
     North Carolina lawmakers ignored pressure to revise the bill and left it largely intact when they concluded their most recent session on Friday.
     A very minor revision of the bill Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature on Wednesday.
     The governor and GOP leaders in the legislature say the law is needed to protect women and children from criminals who would pose as transgender in order to leer at them or worse in public restrooms.
     In its filing, the Justice Department says that a growing number of federal courts and a recent appeals court ruling show that so-called “bathroom laws” violate Title IX and Title VII, which forbid sex-based discrimination, and the Violence Against Women Act, which expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.
     The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — which oversees North Carolina federal courts — ruled in April in favor of a transgender teenager in Virginia who was seeking to use the boys’ restrooms at school.
     The Justice Department says the appeals court’s interpretation of Title IX aligns with their view that denying equal bathroom access to transgender people constitutes “sex discrimination.”
     “The legal conclusion that discrimination based on sex includes discrimination on account of transgender status is bolstered by an informed understanding of the real-life meaning of the term ‘sex.’ As both science and the Fourth Circuit recognize, an individual’s sex consists of multiple factors, which may not always be in alignment,” the 70-page filing says.
     The law approved during a special legislative session in March requires people to use the bathrooms in schools, universities and other state government buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.
     It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections governing workplaces, restaurants and hotels; and overrules local antidiscrimination ordinances.
     The General Assembly restored the ability of workers to use state law to sue over employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age and other factors, but left gender identity and sexual orientation unprotected.
     Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, insisted on the need to protect public safety “by keeping grown men out of bathrooms, shower facilities and changing rooms with women and young girls.”
     The Justice Department is suing the state, while McCrory and legislative leaders filed separate lawsuits to defend the law.
     Additional lawsuits have been filed by North Carolina residents on both sides of the issue.
     The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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