Obama Admin Won’t Withhold Funds From North Carolina Over Anti-LGBT Law

The White House said Thursday that it doesn’t plan to withhold federal funding from North Carolina while the state and the Justice Department fight a legal battle over an anti-LGBT law.

North Carolina currently faces both a federal multiagency review on the law, known as HB2, and a DOJ lawsuit charging that the state violated federal civil rights law by passing legislation that discriminates based on gender identity. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday in a press briefing that North Carolina would continue to receive federal funding for the time being.

“This was a review that agencies were working on together as they evaluate what impact this law would have on problems that are funded by the federal government,” Earnest said, as quoted by the Washington Blade. “The White House has been a part of that review. The Department of Justice has been a part of that review. But all of that has been separate from the Department of Justice’s conclusion that they needed to take action to enforce the Civil Rights of 1964, and what has been concluded as a result of that effort is that the administration will not take action to withhold funding while this enforcement process is playing out in the courts.”

HB2 is a sweeping piece of legislation that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination laws, eliminates the right to sue for workplace discrimination of any kind, and prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms in schools and government buildings that are consistent with their gender identity.

According to the Blade’s report, agencies including the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education collaborated on a review of HB2 after its passage to determine whether it would prompt the government to halt funding to the state.

The DOJ filed a separate suit Monday charging that the law amounts to “state-sponsored discrimination” and violates Titles VII and IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual based on sex, while Title IX prohibits education discrimination based on sex.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has filed his own legal complaint asking federal courts to weigh in on the legality of HB2.

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