The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion Friday to withdraw from litigation over House Bill 2, North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBTQ law that was repealed and replaced by legislation that accomplishes similar goals.
The motion was filed “in light of the passage of North Carolina Session Law 2017-4, House Bill 142,” according to the motion.
HB142 is the law legislators passed to repeal HB2, but the law also prohibits local governments and other public entities (like the university system) from enacting transgender equity ordinance and rules without the legislature’s approval. It also makes clear that no local governmental body in the state can “enact or amend any ordinance regulating private employment practices or regulating private accommodations” until 2020.
The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal been working on Carcaño v. McCrory (now known as Carcaño v. Cooper), a federal challenge to HB2, for more than a year. The organizations will continue the fight in court despite the passage of HB142.
Barack Obama’s administration also fought HB2 in court, alleging the legislation violated multiple federal laws. President Donald Trump’s administration is a different story.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions openly opposes transgender equality and has tried to reverse Obama administration’s protections for LGBTQ individuals.
LGBTQ advocates are not pleased with the the DOJ’s decision.
“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 and Eden/Rushing Chair, 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.”
James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, said that while the DOJ may want to use the “fake repeal” of HB2 as a cover, his organization would continue to fight.
“We’ll continue this fight as long as it takes to truly strike down this disastrous law for good,” he said in a news release.
The North Carolina GOP praised the DOJ’s litigation decision.
“The Trump administration has take a very reasonable and common sense action that is welcomed,” said former governor Pat McCrory in a press release.
NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said Americans were “once again” seeing the Trump administration reign in the “hyper-partisan Obama Justice Deparment,” a trend he hopes continues.