North Carolina legislators told President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice they will not meet the imposed May 9 deadline to nullify the controversial "bathroom bill," which the Department of Justice said is discriminatory to transgender people.
On May 4, the department sent North Carolina state legislators a letter saying the law is in violation of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which ban employment discrimination and discrimination in education based on sex, The News & Observer reports. If the state does not comply to fix this issue, it could potentially lose billions of dollars in federal education funding.
But Republican state House Speaker Tim Moore said on May 5 that legislators will fight this.
"We will take no action by Monday," Moore said, according to the News Observer. "That deadline will come and go. We don't ever want to lose any money, but we're not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday's date. That's not how this works."
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Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina does intend to respond with a message to the Justice Department by the deadline, his spokesman said, although no further details were offered. Meanwhile, state leaders are still working to determine how to move forward.
"Right now we're talking with our attorneys to see what our options are," Moore said. "We're going to move at the speed that we're going to move at to look at what our options are."
The Department of Justice has objected to the portion of House Bill 2 that requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding the sex assigned to them at birth, rather than with the gender they identify.
The provision applies to state government facilities, public schools and universities, although private businesses are allowed to create their own rules. The DOJ said this law demonstrates "a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender employees."
Many groups sued to challenge the law. Three of those groups, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina and Lambda Legal issued a statement applauding the DOJ's letter.
"It is now clearer than ever that this discriminatory law violates civil rights protections and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds for North Carolina," the statement says, according to The Atlantic. "The only way to reverse the ongoing damage HB 2 is causing to North Carolina's people, economy, and reputation is a full repeal."