A federal judge on Friday issued a narrow, temporary injunction blocking the University of North Carolina from enforcing the “bathroom bill” provision of HB2, the state’s anti-LGBTQ law.
Friday’s ruling applies only to the transgender students who sued to block the Republican-backed measure mandating people use public restrooms that comport with their biological sex rather than their gender identity. The Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union had sued the state of North Carolina on behalf of two transgender students and one transgender employee of the University of North Carolina (UNC), arguing the provision violated federal civil rights law.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder issued the injunction, ruling that the so-called bathroom bill was “inconsistent” with the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.
“Ultimately, the record reflects what counsel for Governor [Pat] McCrory candidly speculates was the status quo ante in North Carolina in recent years: some transgender individuals have been quietly using bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity, without public awareness or incident,” Schroeder wrote.
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North Carolina’s legislature passed HB 2 in March, prompting the Obama administration to send a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and several state institutions, including UNC, to notify them the North Carolina law violated federal civil rights laws and demand the state not enforce the law. In response, McCrory’s administration sued the Obama administration, arguing the Obama administration overstepped its authority in interpreting federal civil rights prohibitions against sex discrimination to cover transgender people.
Friday’s ruling came in the lawsuit filed by attorneys for North Carolina and will stay in place until the court issues a full ruling on the merits of the case. That is not expected until after November.