Gov. Asks Court to Say He's Not Violating Civil Rights Law by Making Biological Men Use Men’s Room

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 9, 2016 | 12:31pm EDT
President Barack Obama and Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( - In a legal complaint filed against the U.S. Justice Department today, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory asked a U.S. District Court to help his state protect the “bodily privacy rights” of people seeking to use public bathrooms consistent with their biological sex.

The governor filed the lawsuit in response to a letter sent to him five days ago by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. That letter informed McCrory that the Justice Department had determined that a North Carolina law requiring biological men to use men’s rooms and biological women to use women’s rooms to be in violation of the provision in the federal Civil Rights Act that prohibits “an employer from discriminating against an individual on the basis of sex.”

“Access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition, or privilege of employment,” the Obama Justice Department said in the letter to McCrory. “Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII.”

Gov. McCrory did not back away from his state’s law. Instead, he filed suit asking a federal court to grant him and North Carolina Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry "injunctive relief" against the U.S. Justice Department, Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta "for their radical reinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which would prevent plaintiffs from protecting the bodily privacy rights of state employees while accommodating the needs of transgendered state employees."

The complaint McCrory filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina explained the North Carolina law’s basic operations.

“On March 23, 2016,” said the complaint, “the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (‘the Act’). The Act created common sense bodily privacy protections for, among others, state employees, by requiring public agencies to require multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facilities to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex. Biological sex is the physical condition of being male or female, and the Act notes that such condition is ‘stated on a person’s birth certificate.’ The Act also allows accommodation based on special circumstances.”

After the law was enacted, Gov. McCrory issued an executive order calling on all state agencies to make “a reasonable accommodation” to allow “single occupancy” restrooms and other facilities.

“On April 12, 2016, Governor McCrory issued ‘Executive Order 93 to Protect Privacy and Equality’ (‘EO 93’),’ said the governor’s complaint. “EO 93 expanded discrimination protections to state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity among others. EO 93 also affirmed North Carolina law that cabinet agencies should require multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facilities to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex. EO 93 also reaffirmed North Carolina law that agencies may make a reasonable accommodation upon request due to special circumstances and directed all agencies to make a reasonable accommodation of a single occupancy restroom, locker room, or shower facility when readily available and when practicable.”

The complaint the governor filed in the federal court today declared: “North Carolina does not treat transgender employees differently from non-transgender employees. All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of general identity, or transgender status.”

The complaint simply seeks that the court declare that the North Carolina governor and secretary of public safety are not violating federal civil rights law or the federal Violence Against Women Act by enforcing a law that requires biological  males to use men’s rooms and biological women to use women’s rooms.

They asked the court to declare: “Plaintiffs are not violating Title VII or VAWA by following state law regarding bathroom and changing facility use by state employees.”



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