North Carolina and the Battle Over Bigotry—Excuse Us—the ‘Bathroom Bill’: #NowWhat

bathroom bill

ColumnHoo, boy. North Carolina just keeps stepping in it. And by “it” we mean bigotry.

A few weeks ago, we reported that North Carolina passed legislation that forces trans people to use bathrooms that correspond with their birth gender. N.C. Governor Pat McCory created the “bathroom bill” because of “safety” reasons. Since the law’s passing, politicians, such as Ted Cruz, have doubled down on the scary, safety rhetoric, saying the law is for protection purposes only—not bigotry or hate.

“As you know, my daughters are 5 and 8. My 5-year-old knows the difference between boys and girls,” Cruz said in a totally not sarcastic way. “That’s not a reasonable position, it is simply crazy and the idea that grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls—you don’t need to be a behavioral psychologist to realize bad things can happen, and any prudent person wouldn’t allow that.”

And this is the guy many hoped would knock Trump out of the race to the White House.

Well, things have become even crazier. On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit over NC’s “bathroom bill.” In response, North Carolina state officials began filing suits “against the federal directive to stop the implementation of the controversial legislation,” CNN reports.

The lawsuits concern something the state calls “common sense privacy policy” that’s “meant to protect the state’s public employees,” The Huffington Post explains.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the U.S. government’s legislation, she reminded the country that not so long ago, many states, including NC, had similar but different bathroom laws. “It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had other signs above restrooms, water fountains, and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference,” Lynch said. “We’ve moved beyond those dark days.”

With this legislation, the U.S. government’s “Justice Department seeks declaratory relief and threatens to curtail federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina (UNC),” CNN reports. However, it appears that UNC plans to not implement the bill, stating that the school’s “policy prohibits university personnel from discriminating on the basis of, among other things, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation.”

“The next step is likely to be a federal judge’s decision on whether to impose an injunction, or temporary ruling, to void the North Carolina law pending a trial,” The Huffington Post adds. “Regardless of how a judge might rule on an injunction, the case stands to add to a growing body of legal decisions that have tended to side in favor of transgender rights but not enough to dissuade states like North Carolina.”

Well, then, let’s do something that actually will dissuade states like North Carolina to not write hateful legislation in the future. Now that would be something.

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Bathrooms image via Shutterstock

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.