Lawsuit challenges North Carolina transgender law

AP

Opponents of a U.S. state’s law blocking local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules and requiring transgender students to use bathrooms assigned to their biological sex wasted little time challenging the measure, filing a federal lawsuit Monday morning.

Two transgender people, a law school professor and civil liberties groups filed the lawsuit. They want the North Carolina law to be declared unconstitutional, and they want to prevent its enforcement.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and Equality North Carolina scheduled a Monday news conference in Raleigh to discuss the lawsuit.

The law was approved last week by the legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Republican lawmakers wanted to overturn an impending Charlotte ordinance that allowed transgender people to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity. But the new law also prevents all cities and counties from extending protections covering sexual orientation and gender identity at restaurants, hotels and stores.

Corporations have criticized the law, but McCrory and allies are defending it.

The Charlotte ordinance would have enabled transgender people to legally use restrooms aligned with their gender identity, and would have provided broad protections against discrimination in public accommodations in the state’s largest city.

North Carolina is the first state to require public school and university students to use only those bathrooms that match their birth certificates, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights say state legislators demonized them with bogus claims about bathroom risks. Supporters say the new law protects all people from having to share bathrooms with people who make them feel unsafe.