RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - Two of North Carolina's top Republican leaders have filed a second lawsuit in federal court over North Carolina's House Bill 2.
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced Monday they have filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare that "North Carolina's commonsense law to maintain sex-specific restrooms complies with federal law."
"It's unacceptable for the Obama administration to try to intimidate North Carolina taxpayers into accepting their radical reinterpretation of a law meant to protect women from discrimination into a law that would actually deny women their right to basic safety and privacy," a joint statement from the leaders said. "What the Obama administration is arguing has never been written into law by Congress or settled in the courts, and that is why we are seeking clarity – to confirm we remain in compliance with federal law."
The combined lawsuit from the Republican leaders comes hours after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the Department of Justice. The lawsuit names the federal government, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta.
The Department of Justice sent a letter to McCrory last week saying North Carolina's House Bill 2 violates federal civil rights laws. The Justice Department said state officials must confirm by Monday that they will not comply with or implement the law called House Bill 2, according to a copy of the letter obtained by WBTV.
The letter says HB2, which pre-empted Charlotte's anti-discrimination ordinance, violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in education based on sex, and Title VII, which bars employers from discriminating.
If that determination is upheld, North Carolina could lose millions in federal funding.
House Bill 2 requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their birth certificates. The law also makes clear local measures can't expand anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to a statement sent to media shortly after the filing, McCrory says he is asking the federal courts to clarify federal law.
"The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country, not just North Carolina. This is now a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level," said Governor McCrory. "They are now telling every government agency and every company that employs more than 15 people that men should be allowed to use a women's locker room, restroom or shower facility."