The Department of Justice said on Friday that it dropped the lawsuit against North Carolina over its “bathroom bill” that required transgender people to use public bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.
Department lawyers said in a court filing they were abandoning the lawsuit – filed in 2016 by the Obama administration – because the North Carolina legislature repealed the bill last month and replaced it with another measure, The Washington Post reported.
This comes after the Trump administration’s decision to revoke Department of Education guidance that states students have a right to use the public bathrooms matching their gender identity. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was critical of the guidelines, has said federal authorities should defer to local lawmakers on the issue.
North Carolina’s original bathroom bill, known as HB2, caused protests from LGBT activists when it was signed last year. The bill reversed municipal ordinances that expanded anti-discrimination protections to transgender people, drawing opposition from the LGBT community and corporations, which threatened to pull business from the state.
Companies, such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank, shelved plans to expand in North Carolina, and the NCAA and NBA threatened to move games out of state if the bill wasn’t repealed.
Under such pressures, state lawmakers killed HB2 and passed a new measure in March that ended the bathroom provisions. The new law gives sate legislators, not local governments, the power to change public bathroom policies in the future and prohibits local government from enacting new nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020.
While the new deal satisfied the NCAA and NBA’s demands, transgender rights groups say it will have the same effects as HB2.
“Here is yet another instance of the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrawing the federal government’s support from transgender individuals, and they are using the fake repeal of HB 2 as cover,” Jon W. Davidson, legal director of the group Lambda Legal, said in a statement. “Sadly, this was not unexpected, now that anti-transgender forces are in charge of the Departments of Justice and Education.”