U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch reiterated her criticism of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 during a panel discussion Saturday night.
She called HB2 “nothing but state-sanctioned discrimination against some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
The U.S. Justice Department has sued North Carolina over HB2, describing it as a violation of equal employment and gender equity laws. Attorneys representing the government have asked a judge to block HB2 while the case is pending.
“We will always fight those,” Lynch said Saturday. “We will always fight to bring out the best of us and to bring out the true heart and spirit of the people who do not stand for discrimination against any individual or any group.”
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Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders have filed separate suits asking that a judge determine the law is not discriminatory.
“I want to assure the people of our state and our country North Carolina has long-held traditions of ensuring equality,” McCrory said in May.
HB2, which was adopted in an emergency session of the General Assembly in March, requires transgender people in government facilities to use the restroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. The law also blocks local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that are more sweeping than state law.
The NBA on Thursday announced that it’s moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of HB2.
Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, who was being recognized at the Saturday event in Washington, said the NBA’s decision to pull the All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2 “is a lesson, a tough lesson to learn.”
“In one sense I’m sick about it because I’ve always believed in economic development and jobs,” he said. “Perhaps it will effect those policy makers to do what is right.”
McCrory said he’s disappointed with the NBA’s move to pull the game.
“I strongly disagree with their decision,” he said Friday on the WFAE program “Charlotte Talks.” “To put it bluntly it’s total (politically correct) BS. It’s an insult to our city and an insult to our state."
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Charlotte’s former mayor, said Saturday he hopes the city gets a chance to host the All-Star Game in the future.
“I think the city did the right thing on the first instance so now they’re being penalized, to some extent, for what the state did, but it’s ultimately, I think, the right decision,” he said.