RALEIGH, N.C. (Christian Examiner)—The state of North Carolina filed suit against the U.S. Justice Department on Monday after the federal government challenged the state's new law requiring residents to use public restrooms corresponding to their biological sex.
The suit comes in response to a letter sent by the Justice Department last week warning the state that they could lose millions of dollars in funding, including funds set aside for education.
The department based its actions on the Civil Rights Act, a 1964 law that was designed to end discrimination of minorities in public places. North Carolina had been given until Monday to respond—just three working days.
In a Monday afternoon press conference North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said that Justice Department told him on Friday the state could have more time to make the needed adjustments—an additional week—if he was willing to agree with the department's interpretation of key provisions of the Civil Rights Act that were in question.
The governor said he could not do so.
"That is why this morning I have asked a federal court to clarify what the law actually is," McCrory said at the press conference. "Now I anticipate our own legislature, other private entities from throughout the United States and possibly other states to join us in seeking this clarification because this is not just a North Carolina issue. This is now a national issue and an issue which imposes new law on every private sector employer in America with over 15 employees."
McCrory then suggested—and repeated himself twice in doing so—that the U.S. Congress needs to step in and "bring clarity to our national anti-discrimination provisions under Title XII and Title IX."
Title XII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin, according to an editor's note on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website. The U.S. Department of Education says Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs.
McCrory added his belief that the Obama Administration had tried to sidestep congressional action by acting through the U.S. Justice Department.
According to the federal suit, North Carolina calls the Justice Department's position both a "radical reinterpretation" of the Civil Rights Act and an overreach into state matters. North Carolina leaders have also quarreled with the short time the state had been given to respond.
"The Department's position is a baseless and blatant overreach," the suit said. "This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the Courts."
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory called the federal government "bullies" in a Sunday Fox News interview.
"The Justice Department is making law for the federal government as opposed to enforcing it," McCrory said in the Fox News interview.
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