Trump administration drops Obama-era H.B. 2 lawsuit against N.C.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington

WASHNGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration on Friday dropped a lawsuit filed by the Obama Justice Department accusing N.C. of discriminating against the LGBT community.In a two-sentence court filing the Justice Department said it had dropped its lawsuit, filed last year by the Obama administration, because the N.C. General Assembly had replaced it with a new law called House Bill 142.The filing marks the first significant move in a complicated legal battle challenging the state’s nondiscrimination laws since the replacement of the original law, known as House Bill 2.H.B. 142 gives regulatory authority over multi-occupancy bathroom and changing facilities to the state and enacts a three-year moratorium on local governments issuing regulations on employment practices and public accommodations. It came after multiple failed deals between Governor Roy Cooper and the legislature to repeal H.B. 2 which required that in state-run buildings transgender people use the bathrooms, changing rooms and showers that corresponded to the sex on their birth certificates rather than their gender identity. “Compromise is difficult for both sides, but we are pleased this proposal fully protects safety and privacy by keeping men out of women’s bathrooms, and removes the distraction of H.B. 2 from North Carolina’s success story of outpacing the rest of the United States in job growth and being a national leader in tax cuts and reform,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockigham) after the bill’s passage.N.C. was they center of protest over the bill for a year as the Human Rights Campaign and other groups put pressure on some musicians, businesses and sports leagues to boycott N.C. because they saw the law as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the law in March of last year. That was followed in May by the Obama Justice Department’s own suit against House Bill 2.James Esseks, the ACLU’s LGBT Project Director says the new law is flawed because it keeps a ban on cities and counties from creating their own nondiscriminatory ordinances until 2020 and leaves the state legislature the power to establish rules on facilities access. The legislature has purposefully not taken any action to define access, he said.House Bill 142 “leaves transgender people in limbo and that’s intentional,” Esseks said. “This does not fix the problem. It creates confusion.”Esseks said his group planned to amend their lawsuit soon to challenge the new bill.H.B. 142 has also been criticized by supporters of H.B. 2 who say that the 2020 moratorium will postpone the debate.”If H.B. 2 was right to begin with, which I believe it was, then why are we repealing it?,” said Lt. Governor Dan Forest after the passage of h.B. 142. “If it is wrong, then why wait four years to fix it? Such ambiguity undercuts the legitimacy of a law that we have fought so hard to defend.”