The United States Department of Justice sent letters to both UNC System President Margaret Spellings and Governor Pat McCrory Wednesday notifying them of violations of federal nondiscrimination policies pertaining to the passage of House Bill Two.
The letters, signed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, gave UNC and the state until the end of business on May 9 to respond to the notifications.
The letter sent to McCrory highlights the violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 created by the passage of House Bill Two.
“Specifically, the State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both you, in your official capacity, and the State are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of the Title VII rights by transgender employees of public agencies,” the letter said.
The letter sent to UNC Wednesday notified Spellings the system was in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.
Spellings responded to the U.S. Justice Department’s letter in a statement Wednesday.
“We were notified this afternoon that the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has determined the UNC system is in violation of federal nondiscrimination law as it relates to the NC Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, commonly known as HB2,” Spellings said.
“We take this determination seriously and will be conferring with the Governor’s Office, legislative leaders, and counsel about next steps and will respond to the Department by its May 9 deadline.”
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore told the Raleigh News and Observer Thursday he believed the Obama Administration was overstepping its legal bounds in asking the state to ignore or repeal House Bill Two.
“This fight isn’t about Republicans, this fight is about a duly passed law for the state of North Carolina and about the overreach of the Obama Justice Department in trying to come in through administrative action to say what Title VII means which is completely different than the precedent of what Title VII has ever been interpreted to be — or Title IX for that matter,” Moore said.
Moore said although he does not want the state to lose any federal funding, he also does not want to be bullied by the Obama Administration.
“We will take no action by Monday. That deadline will come and go," Moore said.
Moore said a response from the state will be coordinated with UNC, although the short deadline to respond to the Justice Department’s letters makes such a coordination difficult.
“As you all know, we all just received this letter yesterday,” he said. “That’s unreasonable to think that receiving a letter yesterday that there could be much of a coordinated response at this point.”
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