The Department of Justice has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory over HB2, the state's "bathroom bill."
The suit, brought forward in the Middle District of North Carolina, also names the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina.
The Justice Department argues that restrictions against transgender individuals from using restrooms and changing rooms corresponding with their gender identity violates the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Act.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a news conference that the DOJ was considering an extension to the Monday deadline requested by North Carolina. However, when the state responded with its own lawsuit against the DOJ, Lynch and the Office of Civil Rights took action.
"We are calling for a statewide bar on HB2's enforcement," she said. "And we retain the option of curtailing public funding to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Education."
While Lynch emphasized that as the suit continues the state could lose critical federal funding, there was no timetable for taking action to cut funds. She also said that the University of North Carolina had contacted the department and the board of governors were meeting to discuss compliance with federal law.
Lynch said that she and her department are monitoring similar laws in other states, including Mississippi.
"The state should not enter into business of legislating identity," she said. "In my home state of North Carolina, there once was other signs above restrooms, above water fountains based on distinction without a difference. Let us write a different story this time."