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North Carolina given five days by Justice Dept to scrap HB2 or lose billions of federal dollars

Joseph McCormick May 4, 2016
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The US Justice Department has given North Carolina five days to scrap its anti-LGBT legislation or risk losing federal funding.

The Department on Wednesday said HB2, passed last month and signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, is discriminatory and could lead to the state losing billions of dollars of federal funding.

HB2, as well as banning trans people from using gender-appropriate bathrooms, rolled back a local ordinance in Charlotte protecting LGBT people.

The Justice Department gave North Carolina five days to respond “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

A letter sent from the Department on Wednesday addressed to Governor McCrory  states that HB2 violates the Civil Rights Act and Title IX.

Title IX bans discrimination in education, and means the state could lose billions of dollars of federal education funding.

In the current school year, North Carolina schools received $861 million in federal funds, and the University of North Carolina in 2014-15 received $1.5 billion.

Those opposed to HB2 celebrated the letter.

“The letter confirms what we’ve already known – that HB2 is deeply discriminatory, violates federal civil rights law, and needs to be repealed as soon as possible,” said Representative Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC.

“We’ve already lost $500 million in economic impact and now we are violating federal civil rights law and risking Title IX funding.”

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin thanked “the Justice Department for enforcing the rule of law and protecting the rights of North Carolinians.

“We once again urge Gov. McCrory and the state of North Carolina to immediately do the same and fully repeal this harmful bill,” he added.

But US House Speaker Tim Moore said the letter was a “huge over-reach” by the federal Government.

“It looks an awful lot like politics to me,” he added.

The letter comes as Governor McCrory this week again defended HB2, taking aim at those who have criticised it including Bruce Springsteen and PayPal.

Cirque du Soleil last month cancelled gigs in North Carolina over the state’s new anti-LGBT law.

Hundreds of business leaders have urged the repeal of North Carolina’s HB2, and multiple celebrities have pulled out of appearances, including Ringo Starr and, Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen was even accused of using “bully tactics” for cancelling the concert by one of the state’s Representatives.

But dozens of celebrities and hundreds of fans came to the defence of Springsteen, commending him for taking a stand.

Others such as Mumford and Sons and Cyndi Lauper have said they will appear but that they will donate their profits to LGBT rights organisations.

Mississippi also faces similar threats as Bryan Adams and Sharon Stone have pulled out of appearances there.

Related topics: charlotte, hb2, North Carolina, US

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