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LGBT Groups Sue North Carolina Over Bathroom Ordinance Law

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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Casey Harper Contributor
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North Carolina’s newly-passed conservative transgender law is already facing a legal battle.

The American Civil Liberties Union has partnered with other LGBT advocacy groups to file a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over a law banning ordinances that allow men into women bathrooms, the Associated Press reports.

Charlotte’s city council passed an ordinance to take effect April 1 that would allow people to use the bathroom they say is their true gender, regardless of their biological gender. Supporters of the ordinance described it as an anti-discrimination bill that protects transgender people, but opponents said men would exploit it to legally use women’s restrooms and locker rooms. The bill, signed March 23, prevents local governments from enacting similar ordinances.

The lawsuit represents transgender plaintiffs, including Payton Grey McGarry, who say the law is discriminatory.

“Using the women’s restroom is not a viable option for Mr. McGarry, just as it would not be a viable option for non-transgender men to be forced to use the women’s restroom,” the lawsuit reads. “Forcing Mr. McGarry to use the women’s restroom would also cause substantial harm to his mental health and well-being. It would also force him to disclose to others the fact that he is transgender, which itself could lead to violence and harassment.”

Conservatives pointed to the privacy violations and the potential for men to exploit the law to go into women’s facilities.

“The basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte,” McCrory said in a statement about signing the bill. “This radical breach of trust and security under the false argument of equal access not only impacts the citizens of Charlotte but people who come to Charlotte to work, visit or play. This new government regulation defies common sense and basic community norms by allowing, for example, a man to use a woman’s bathroom, shower or locker room.”

A similar Houston battle threw the city into turmoil until the residents voted the ordinance down by a significant margin in November of last year.

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