The North Carolina “bathroom bill” has been the subject of widespread criticism across the country and across the world, from members and non-members of the LGBT community alike. Several high profile people have been boycotting the state in the hopes of getting the law repealed. The bill allows for discrimination against the LGBT community and forces those who identify as a different gender to use the bathroom designated for the gender that appears on their birth certificate.
As you can imagine, the law has divided the nation. The division is so large that the United States Justice Department is suing the state of North Carolina, alleging that the law is discriminatory and illegal. The state of North Carolina is arguing that the law is not discriminatory but is there for the protection of children.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch is leading the charge against the bill. In a news conference she said:
‘This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms…This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them.’
Pat Mcrory, the North Carolina State Governor who signed the bill into law, filed his own suit against the Justice Department, claiming the federal government were guilty of:
‘baseless and blatant overreach’
Lynch is of the opinion that the bill has complete disregard for federal law that prohibits discrimination for reasons of sex and gender identity and is targeting the LGBT community, a subject the AG obviously feels very strongly about. She made clear in her statement:
‘The bill was signed into law that same isay. In so doing, the legislature and the governor placed North Carolina in direct opposition to federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity. More to the point, they created state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security – a right taken for granted by most of us.’
Perhaps in reaction to the Trump campaign and the way his often discriminatory rhetoric seems to have struck a chord with Republican voters, Lynch, in her statement, attempts to remind all of us why discrimination is so abhorrent and this “bathroom bill” is nothing more than a reaction out of fear, a reaction not disimliar to so many others in American history:
‘This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry. That right, of course, is now recognized as a guarantee embedded in our Constitution, and in the wake of that historic triumph, we have seen bill after bill in state after state taking aim at the LGBT community. Some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown, and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change. But this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness.’
Lynch makes it clear that in filing the lawsuit, her aim is to see the bill removed, and she’s prepared to block funding to North Carolina until that happens. This is definitely going to be one to watch; see the video below:
Featured Image: Drew Angerer / Getty