Gov. Pat McCrory addressed the controversial North Carolina bathroom law at a press conference Monday afternoon, explaining why he has decided to sue the federal government for trying to block it.
Just five days ago, he related, the Justice Department sent letters to his office that insisted their law requiring government employees use public restrooms that correspond to their birth certificates is in conflict with federal policy and violates the Civil Rights Act. McCrory had a limited time to respond before the agency threatened to strip his state of federal funding.
“This was a substantial request and they gave us three business days to respond to this letter,” McCrory explained.
His administration asked for additional time, but they refused unless he go on record agreeing with their interpretation of the law. He could not do that – choosing instead to file a lawsuit.
He now wants a federal court to clarify what the law actually is.
“This is not just a North Carolina issue, this is a national issue,” he said, for it imposes a new law on every private sector in the country.
“I think it’s time for the U.S. Congress to bring clarity to our national anti-discrimination provisions under Title VII and Title IX.”
Right now, he continued, the Obama administration is “bypassing Congress” to set bathroom policies for public and private employers across the country.
North Carolina has longstanding traditions of ensuring equality, McCrory said. The governor encouraged other states to join their fight.
“We did not seek out this issue,” he said. “However, we welcome the opportunity to be part of the solution."
The Justice Department will respond later this afternoon.