Privacy Group Sues DOJ |to Save ‘Bathroom Law’

     (CN) – A nonprofit comprised of students, parents and conservative privacy advocates sued the Justice Department Tuesday in a bid to preserve North Carolina’s controversial “Bathroom Law.”
     The lawsuit, filed in the Raleigh, North Carolina Federal Court by a group called North Carolinians for Privacy is the fifth complaint filed over the law, also known as HB2, which was rushed through the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in March.
     State GOP lawmakers passed the law quickly to pre-empt an impending Charlotte city ordinance that would have provided broad protections against discrimination in the state’s largest city, and also would have allowed transgender people to use public restrooms aligned with their gender identity.
The law also prohibits counties, cities and other local municipalities from extending protections related to sexual orientation at hotels, restaurants and other businesses. It also requires university and other public school students to use only those bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.
     A week after McCrory signed the bill into law, a lesbian law school professor and two transgender people sued to overturn it, claiming that “by singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, (the new law) violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution.”
     Then on Monday the U.S. Justice Department sued North Carolina over HB2, asking a federal court to declare the law’s provisions “discriminate on the basis of sex.”
     The DOJ took its action after warning the state to reverse itself on the law and after McCrory himself sued the agency in an attempt to push back at what he sees as federal interference in a state matter.
     Before a news conference by Attorney General Loretta Lynch announcing the lawsuit had even concluded, North Carolina’s legislative leaders filed their own complaint against the DOJ over the state law. The lawsuit filed by House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger asks a judge to rule that the law does not violate federal civil rights law.
     Now comes the North Carolinians for Privacy complaint which takes issue with the DOJ’s contention that transgender people are protected from discrimination under Title IX.
     The lawsuit is almost identical to one filed in Illinois last week, where students and parents are also rallying around a controversial bathroom bill.
     Both lawsuits were filed by the same conservative legal organization, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and both contend the federal government’s threat to withhold education funding if the law isn’t repealed is entirely unjust.
     As far as the plaintiffs are concerned, the defendant departments are making student aid and other educational funding contingent on students sharing restrooms and locker rooms with members of the opposite sex.
     They claim the DOJ and education department have overstepped their authority in redefining sex and gender under Title IX, and that students’ constitutional right to privacy would be violated if the state or the University of North Carolina were to bow to federal demands that transgender students be afforded full access to bathrooms that do not comport with the gender identified on their birth certificates.
     North Carolinians for Privacy ask the court to declare the federal departments are overstepping their authority, and to enjoin them from making any attempt to void the state law.
     The group is represented by Jeremy Tedesco, James Campbell, Kristen Waggoner, Joseph LaRue, and Jonathan Caleb Dalton of the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Arizona, David Cortman and J. Matthew Sharp of the Alliance’s Lawrenceville, Georgia chapter, and by Deborah Dewart of the Liberty, Life and Law Foundation of Swansboro, North Carolina.

CNS reporter Rich Ivey in Raleigh, North Carolina contributed to this report.

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