Lambda Legal and ACLU request injunction against enforcing H.B. 2

Eamon Queeney—North State Journal
A detailed look at a physical copy of North Carolina's House Bill 2

WINSTON-SALEM — The American Civil Liberties Union and the advocacy group Lambda Legal filed a motion Monday asking a U.S. court to block North Carolina from enforcing H.B. 2 while the measure is being challenged. The law requires individuals to use the multistalled bathroom designated for the sex listed on their birth certificate.

The request for an injunction, filed with the middle district court on North Carolina, comes as judges field four separate lawsuits filed since H.B. 2’s passage in March. Each lawsuit was strategically filed in districts whose judges may offer more favorable treatment to the plaintiffs.

“H.B. 2 is causing ongoing and serious harm to transgender people in North Carolina and must be put on hold while it is reviewed by the court,” Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina which filed the first suit against H.B. 2, also with the fourth middle district of N.C., on behalf of four transgender or lesbian people associated with the University of North Carolina system.

North Carolinians for Privacy, a nonprofit, also filed a complaint last week asking for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief based upon the DOJ’s redefining of ‘sex’ for the purposes of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

The complaint asks that “this Court declare that the Department of Education’s new rule, that redefines the word ‘sex’ in Title IX to mean, or include, gender identity, and upon which the Department of Justice relies in issuing its Ultimatum to the State and University, violates the provisions and requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and so is unlawful and unenforceable, by the Department of Education as well as the Department of Justice; and, that this Court declare that the Department of Justice and the Department of Education cannot rely upon an unlawful rule for purposes of determining the requirements of Title IX.”

Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for the alliance, said in a statement on Wednesday, “The agencies must stop using falsehoods about what federal law requires to threaten student access to educational opportunities and financial assistance.”

Governor Pat McCrory also filed a complaint that seeks a declaratory judgment from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Of North Carolina. A declaratory judgment interprets laws that are questioned by plaintiffs. McCrory is seeking two responses from the court. The first is that the state of North Carolina is not in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The second is North Carolina is not in violation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

“We believe a court, rather than a federal agency, should tell our state, the nation and employers what the law requires,” McCrory said at his press conference. “I think it’s time for the U.S. Congress to bring clarity to our national anti-discrimination provisions under Title VII and Title IX.”

A separate, but nearly identical, lawsuit was filed the same day by Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) and House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain).

The DOJ complaint alleges H.B. 2, and those implementing the law, violates Title VII and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act, as well as the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

“We are seeking a court order declaring House Bill 2’s restroom restriction impermissibly discriminatory, as well as a statewide bar on its enforcement. While the lawsuit currently seeks declaratory relief, I want to note that we retain the option of curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds,” Lynch said in the late Monday press conference announcing the suit.