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Lawsuit Planned Over North Carolina's Ban on Transgender Bathrooms

by Alex Johnson /
Public restrooms

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National and local activists said Sunday that they will sue to stop North Carolina from enforcing a controversial new law that prevents localities from passing their own anti-discrimination rules for gay and lesbian residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the LGBT activist groups Lambda Legal and Equality NC and plaintiffs yet to be named will announce the suit Monday in Raleigh, the state capital, they said in a brief statement.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed the measure last week after leaders in Charlotte approved a broad anti-discrimination measure.

Focusing on language that would allow transgender people to use restrooms aligned with their gender identities, Republican lawmakers said they intervened to protect women and children from "radical" action by Charlotte.

Related: North Carolina Limits Local Governments After Transgender Bathroom Rule

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, a former mayor of Charlotte, said the new law would "stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette."

But the ACLU and others said the law would discriminate against LGBT people by restricting restroom access in public facilities — including schools — to people based on the sex noted on their birth certificates, not necessarily the one they identify with.

Related: A Rushed Vote Draws North Carolina Into National Fight Over LGBT Rights

 Protesters gather outside the North Carolina Executive Mansion last week in Raleigh. Emery P. Dalesio / AP — file

In doing so, the groups said, it also jeopardizes "the more than $4.5 billion in federal funding that North Carolina receives for secondary and post-secondary schools under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in institutions receiving federal funding."

Apple, Google, Facebook, American Airlines, Bank of America, IBM and other large corporations objected to the new state law but haven't said they would withdraw their business from North Carolina.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee banned city workers from non-essential travel to North Carolina last week, and director Rob Reiner said he won't produce movies in North Carolina until it repeals the law.

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