McCrory: Feds 'being a bully' over HB2

Posted May 8, 2016
Updated May 9, 2016

— North Carolina government and university officials were given until Monday to tell federal attorneys whether they would stop enforcing a new law blocking LGBT protections, particularly provisions requiring transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said Sunday he will decide how to respond to the U.S. Justice Department by the deadline but sounds little interested in capitulating to the agency. Government attorneys contend the law approved by the state legislature in March violates the federal Civil Rights Act.

The Justice Department is "trying to define gender identity, and there is no clear identification or definition of gender identify," McCrory said on "Fox News Sunday."

"It's the federal government being a bully," he said.

McCrory said he was not aware of any North Carolina cases of transgender people using their gender identity to access a restroom and molest someone, a fear frequently cited by the law's supporters as the main reason for its passage.

The governor said there was no comparison between civil rights laws that forbid racial discrimination and the Justice Department's claim that the federal law also protects transgender people.

"We can definitely define the race of people. It's very hard to define transgender or gender identity," McCrory said, adding his request for more time to respond to the Justice Department was denied.

"They gave the ninth-largest state in the United States ... three working days to respond to a pretty complex letter and to a pretty big threat. Well, we don't think three working days is enough to respond to such a threat,"he said.

McCrory has called the law is a common-sense measure designed to protect the privacy of people who use bathrooms and locker rooms and expect all people inside the facilities to be of the same gender. The governor has become the public face of the law, commonly known as House Bill 2, which has been the subject of intense criticism by gay rights groups, corporate executives and entertainers who demand the law be repealed.

The DOJ last week demanded McCrory, University of North Carolina leaders and the state's public safety agency to respond by Monday whether they intend to stop enforcing the law. Repealing the law also would satisfy the attorneys, but GOP lawmakers who run the General Assembly had no plans to do so before the deadline. The legislature scheduled no recorded votes or substantive action during Monday's House and Senate sessions.

North Carolina has already paid a price for the law, with some business scaling back investments in the state and associations cancelling conventions. The costs to state government could be even more acute.

The 17-campus UNC system risks losing more than $1.4 billion in federal funds if they don't comply. Another $800 million in federally backed loans for students who attend the public universities also would be at risk if it's found that enforcing the law violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on sex. The letter to McCrory said the law also violates Title VII, which bars employment discrimination.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said late last week he is frustrated because "we have a federal administration that is so determined to push a radical social agenda that they would threaten" federal funding. "I just think the people should be frustrated and people should be angry."

UNC President Margaret Spellings, who started her job in March, has said that, while the university system is obligated to follow the law, it does not endorse the law. Spellings said later she hoped legislators would change the law, which could discourage promising faculty and students from coming to system campuses.

A response from UNC or McCrory considered unacceptable to the DOJ could lead to litigation.

Civil liberties groups and several individuals already have sued to challenge the law, which also prevents local governments from passing rules giving protections to lesbians, gays and bisexual and transgender people while using public accommodations like restaurants and stores. The state law was designed to block an ordinance by the city council in Charlotte.


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  • Xander Bogaerts May 10, 2016
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  • Amanda Townsend May 9, 2016
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    Good grief....

  • Amanda Townsend May 9, 2016
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    Agreed on all accounts, especially the 2nd point.

  • Robert Richardson May 9, 2016
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    Really? Even McCrory admitted the entire reason behind that part of the bill was a lie. The main reason they kept putting out about the bill is it was for the protection and safety of women and little girls in the bathroom from these trans people. It wasn't until he was called on it did he change the reason to it being a privacy issue. There is already laws on the books for assault, sexual or otherwise, so why was this one really needed? Funny thing is, this is still the only part of the law anyone is still talking about. So there plan worked by including this in with all of the other things they took away.

  • Hamilton Bean May 9, 2016
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    Wake up and pay attention to the topic please...

  • Melanie Lane May 9, 2016
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    so republicans use government over reach to undo a Charlotte ordinance, revoke the people's right to sue for being discriminated against, say local elected councils cannot pass wage rules or other local regulations and that's not being a bully. It's amazing how thin skinned these guys are, they demand that everyone do what they want but reject listening to anyone else. #wearenotthis

  • Xander Bogaerts May 9, 2016
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    No, the Charlotte bathroom ordinance was just a cover for NCGA to use to pass discrimination into law.
    They have been trying to squeeze in this discrimination since Fall 2015. There's an article on N&O that spells it out.

  • Michael Bawden May 9, 2016
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    If the OBAMA administration pushes for a response regarding HB2 like they have Hillary Clinton's illegal email server, McCrory has nothing to worry about. Unless a person required to use a bathroom designated their sex is more important to OBAMA than our national security.

  • Angela Wall May 9, 2016
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    I don't understand why folks keep saying that the law was passed in less than 24 hours without any discussion. Charlotte has been trying to pass this law for years now (to take care of what was evidently a non problem, as the left says. Why would you pass a law to take care of a nonproblem anyway?) and state officials had already warned them that they would not stand for it. This "law" had been discussed for years with the written outcome of those discussions sitting on a shelf just waiting for the vote. It may have been brought on the floor and voted on in less than 24 hours but it was not developed in that time frame with no discussion. Most of y'all most not keep up with state government except when you read it on WRAL.

  • H Lee Dawson May 9, 2016
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    The Governor has admitted there has not been ONE case you suggest would happen. To date, people have been going in, shutting the door, doing their business and leaving. Don't peak over the walls and we will all be ok. There has not been a problem yet. BTW, as I hear your concerns, the law is based upon one's birth certificate, so if somebody has their sex changed, (let's say man to woman) they still have to use the restroom on their birth certificate which in this example would be man. Now you can worry.

    The law should have been written carefully and thought out to address public high schools. There was a case reported where a girl already had very masculine features and was beaten up and yelled at at times for going into the girls room which she is required by law now to do.

    With no problems to date, let's just go in, get out and don't peak.