The plaintiffs challenging North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 issued a statement saying they were “disappointed” in the leadership from the University of North Carolina after a memo was sent to the system Chancellors from new President Margaret Spellings.
Spellings wrote in the memo that the legislation, which requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with their birth certificate rather than their gender identity, “supersedes nondiscrimination regulations imposed upon employers and public accommodations by political subdivisions of the state.”
While Spellings wrote that “The Act does not limit the ability of local government and universities to adopt policies with respect to their own employees,” she acknowledged that the 17 system campuses “must require every multiple-occupancy bathroom and changing facility to be designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex.”
Spellings did encourage campuses to “Consider assembling and making information available about the locations of designated single-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities on campus.” These single-occupancy facilities can be used by anyone under the new law.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and Equality NC have all filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the law.
The groups released a joint statement on Thursday saying, “It’s incredibly disappointing that the University of North Carolina has concluded it is required to follow this discriminatory measure at the expense of the privacy, safety, and wellbeing of its students and employees, particularly those who are transgender.”
The groups say that House Bill 2 is in violation of federal of puts the state of North Carolina at risk of losing billions of dollars in Title IX funding.
Joaquín Carcaño is a 27-year-old transgender man who is an employee of UNC – Chapel Hill and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging HB2. He said in the statement:
“Not only does this policy fail to protect my rights as a loyal and hard-working employee and make it harder for me to do my job, it sides with ignorance and fear. All I want is to use the appropriate restroom, in peace, just like everyone else. But now I am put in the terrible position of either going into the women’s room where I don’t belong and am uncomfortable or breaking the law.”
The lawsuit is asking for the federal court to immediately block the law while the case proceeds. There is no timetable for that decision to be handed down by the court. Once it is, the case will turn to looking into the constitutionality of the law.