- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2017

The Justice Department on Friday dropped its lawsuit accusing North Carolina of discrimination against transgender people following the state’s repeal of its “bathroom bill.”

The move, overseen by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reverses action taken by his predecessor, Loretta E. Lynch.

Attorneys for both North Carolina and Justice filed a joint notice to dismiss the lawsuit, citing recently adopted legislation that rolled back the law, which had prompted boycotts and liberal outrage.

A Justice Department spokesman confirmed that the dismissal notice was filed but declined to comment otherwise on the decision.

The agreement was reached after Republican lawmakers and Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, agreed last month on a compromise that replaced House Bill 2, which regulated access to public restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of biological sex.

The new legislation repeals the portion of the bill that would have required transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificates.

But HB2 had also nullified local ordinances enacted across the state to make gay and transgender people into protected classes under anti-discrimination laws. The replacement legislation places a three-year moratorium on local governments’ ability to adopt nondiscrimination ordinances that would regulate restrooms on the basis of gender identity.

Groups advocating for gay and transgender rights have been critical of the replacement bill, saying it does not give people protection from discrimination.

In a statement issued Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal condemned the Trump administration’s decision.

“The Trump administration may want to use the fake repeal of HB2 as an excuse to further turn their backs on the transgender community, but the rest of us aren’t going to give up that easily,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “We’ll continue this fight as long as it takes to truly strike down this disastrous law for good.”

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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