Trump Administration condemned for withdrawal of North Carolina HB2 lawsuit

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LGBT activists have condemned the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss its lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, the discriminatory North Carolina law that banned many transgender people from restrooms and other public facilities matching their gender. The law also prohibited local municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people.

The DOJ cited the passage on March 30 of House Bill 142, a purported repeal of HB2 that in fact left many of the harms caused by HB2 in place, as the reason for its withdrawal.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal today in a joint statement condemned the actions of the DOJ.

“The Trump Administration may want to use the fake repeal of HB2 as an excuse to further turn their backs on the transgender community, but the rest of us aren’t going to give up that easily,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “We will continue this fight as long as it takes to truly strike down this disastrous law for good.”

In less than three months since taking office, President Trump and his administration have rescinded guidance from the Obama administration on the treatment of transgender students, rescinded President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, and declined to appeal the preliminary injunction issued in Franciscan Alliance v. Burwell against enforcement of protections for transition-related health care in the Affordable Care Act’s regulations.

“Here is yet another instance of the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrawing the federal government’s support from transgender individuals, and they are using the fake repeal of HB2 as cover,” said Jon W. Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal. “Sadly, this was not unexpected, now that anti-transgender forces are in charge of the departments of Justice and Education. Once again, the Trump Administration continues to abandon transgender Americans.”

HB142, the anti-transgender replacement for HB2, continues to bar protections for transgender people using restrooms or other facilities in schools, or other state or local government buildings in North Carolina. This means public schools, courthouses, and state and local government agencies cannot have a policy that allows transgender people to use their appropriate restroom. It also prevents cities from passing any protections against discrimination in private or places of public accommodation until 2020 for LGBT people, or anyone, say LGBT activists.

The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal worked on Carcano v. McCrory, a federal court challenge to HB2, for more than a year on behalf of four LGBT North Carolinians and members of the ACLU of North Carolina. The organizations today said they will continue to defend the right of transgender people to use restrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity, as federal law requires.

The suit, which includes claims for the damages inflicted by HB2, will continue, and legal-team members said they will seek to amend the lawsuit to challenge HB142 as well.