North Carolina's Republican leaders are standing firm in their support of a new anti-LGBT law after the US Department of Justice announced the law is a violation of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The new law, called House Bill 2, allows discrimination against the LGBT community and forces transgender people to use toilets corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate. The Justice Department gave state legislators until 9 May to declare the law will not be enforced. However, North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters on 5 May that legislators will not meet the deadline.
"We will take no action by Monday," Moore said. "That deadline will come and go. We don't ever want to lose any money, but we're not going to get bullied by the Obama Administration to take action prior to Monday's date. That's not how this works."
If the state fails to comply with the order, officials at the Justice Department could move the issue to the federal courts, The Wall Street Journal reported. Leaders of the state's general assembly contend the Obama Administration has overreached its power. House Majority Leader Mike Hager said the federal government would have to threaten the loss of federal dollars in order for the caucus to consider a move.
According to The News & Observer, Moore said state leaders are attempting to decide their next steps. "Right now we're talking with our attorneys to see what our options are," he said. "We're going to move at the speed that we're going to move at to look at what our options are."
Moore's Democratic colleagues argue that the Justice Department order gives legislators enough time to address the issue and believe the issue should be addressed before the deadline. "HB2 became law in less than 12 hours," tweeted High Point Representative Cecil Brockman. "Five days should be more than enough time to decide how to clean up after it."
In the state Senate, Democratic Senator Jeff Jackson is pushing a bill with fellow Democrats in an attempt to repeal the law, according to the WSJ. "There's a dawning realisation within the Republican leadership that they massively overplayed their hand," Jackson said. "Now they're stuck."
Meanwhile, Graham Wilson, spokesman for Governor Pat McCrory, told The News & Observer that the governor does plan to have a response to the Department of Justice by the aforementioned deadline.
House Bill 2, or HB2, was passed in a one-day March emergency session in order to block a Charlotte, North Carolina ordinance that would allow transgender people to use the toilet of the gender they identify with. The Justice Department also sent letters to the University of North Carolina and state's Secretary of Public Safety regarding alleged federal-law violations, the Wall Street Journal reported. The University of North Carolina plans to respond to the federal letter by the set deadline.