July 6, 2016
North Carolina Bathroom Bill In Jeopardy As Justice Department Tries To Block It

The North Carolina "bathroom bill" may not be fully implemented for some time -- if at all -- following a request by the Justice Department to have a federal judge block the most controversial portions of the law, WGHP (Greensboro) is reporting.

The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, or HB2, is considered one of the most restrictive anti-LGBTQ laws in the country, according to CNBC. Its most controversial provision requires individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex assigned at birth, rather than the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Similarly, the law prevents municipalities in The Tar Heel State from enacting their own laws that would allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice.

Supporters of the bill, including Republican Governor Pat McCrory, insist that the bill is necessary to protect individuals -- children in particular -- from perverts who may use the guise of being transgender as an excuse to be in the opposite-sex bathroom.

Jane Clark Scharl, writing on conservative website National Review, says the "bathroom bill" is simply a matter of common sense.
"The purpose of HB2 is to ensure that people, especially women and children but men as well, can use public restrooms, locker rooms, and changing areas without being exposed to people of the opposite biological sex. It's pretty common sense."
The U.S. Department of Justice, however, doesn't see it that way. In a 70-page motion filed Tuesday, the Department said that HB2 solves a problem that doesn't exist and does more harm than good.
"[HB2] is state-sanctioned discrimination that is inflicting immediate and significant harm on transgender individuals."
The Justice Department is asking for a federal judge to halt enforcement of the law and has sued the state.

Ever since HB2 first started making its way through the state legislature, the bill has been the focal point of intense controversy. Several musicians and performers, including Bruce Springsteen and The Blue Man Group, among others, have canceled shows in North Carolina due to the bill. Similarly, several businesses have threatened to pull out of the state or withdraw plans to expand in the state. PayPal, for example, scrapped plans to open an office in North Carolina, according to this Inquisitr report, costing the state as many as 400 jobs.

Similarly, the sports industry has expressed concerns about doing business in North Carolina. Already the NBA, which has a franchise in Charlotte and which is planning on hosting the 2017 All-Star Game there, is said to be "weighing its options."

For pro-LGBTQ state representative Chris Sgro, the NBA's concerns about North Carolina are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential economic consequences for North Carolina.

"This is not just about the NBA All-Star game. This is about long-term economic sustainability for the state of North Carolina, and that is deeply at risk with the way our reputation has been damaged by this law."
By some estimates, HB2 has already cost North Carolina dearly. Citing figures from the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, pro-LGBTQ group The Human Rights Campaign estimates that HB2 has cost 1,300 jobs and $285 million in the Charlotte area alone.

Governor Pat McCrory is not taking the Justice Department's suit lying down; his administration has filed a counter-suit against the Justice Department, claiming that the federal government is "extending its reach" by interfering with the enactment and enforcement of HB2.

[Image via Shutterstock/John Arehart]