Justice Department Drops Lawsuit Against North Carolina's Transphobic 'Bathroom Bill'

Gerry Broome/AP
Gerry Broome/AP

Trump' administration has dropped its lawsuit against North Carolina, which accused the state of discriminating against LGBTQ residents, Associated Press reports.

The Justice Department's ruling follows NC's decision to repeal its anti-trans HB2 "bathroom bill" with HB142: a compromise between Republicans and Democratic governor Roy Cooper to reset bathroom policies so transgender people can use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.  

Related | Failed HB2 Repeal: When LGBTQ Rights Put Money Over People, No One Profits

Under the replacement law, local governments are forbidden from enacting any future bathroom policies; only state legislators can do so. HB142 also prohibits local governments from creating and enforcing new nondiscrimination ordinances for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until 2020. Therefore, the law can't force private businesses to follow bathroom rules, putting LGBTQ people at risk for legal discrimination. 

Advocates urge that HB142 still violates the rights of LGBTQ people. "The initiative is not a repeal," Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro told CNN. "It’s doubling down on the discrimination that HB2 exacts—it’s HB2.0. It doesn’t allow municipalities to protect people from discrimination till 2020."

Tara Borelli, a lawyer for Lambda Legal, said her group will update its lawsuit challenging HB142, arguing that it's just as discriminatory as HB2. "This move does not affect the merits of the case," she said. "HB2 was unconstitutional as of the moment it was enacted. HB142 was unconstitutional the moment it was enacted. We don't think the courts will have any trouble seeing that, regardless of who's sitting at counsel's table."

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