A North Carolina law limiting protections to LGBT people violates federal civil rights protections and can’t be enforced, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday, putting the state on notice that it is in danger of being sued and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
The law, which also requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that conform to the sex on their birth certificate, has been broadly condemned by gay-rights groups, businesses and entertainers, some of whom have relocated offices or canceled shows in the state. Several other states have proposed similar laws limiting LGBT protections in recent months.
In a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, the Justice Department said federal officials view the state law as violating federal Civil Rights Act protections barring workplace discrimination based on sex. Provisions of the state law directed at transgender state employees violate their anti-discrimination protections, the letter said.
“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” of their rights, the letter said.