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Don’t sue! UNC says it won’t enforce trans restroom law

Separately, a three-judge panel of the Virginia appeals court gave a favorable ruling to a transgender student seeking to use high school restrooms in line with his gender identity. The Virginia school board he sued has asked for a new hearing before the full appeals court. That case hinges on a federal antidiscrimination law that’s also central to the North Carolina cases.

The North Carolina law enacted in March requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate in public schools, universities and many other public buildings. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections.

In a recent letter, McCrory asked Congress to clarify U.S. Civil Rights Act protections. The May 18 letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders asks them to act in light of Justice Department and Education Department instructions stating the federal law’s protections apply to sexual orientation and gender identity. McCrory disagrees.

Friday’s filings go a step further than previous statements by Spellings, who had lamented in a May 9 letter to the Justice Department that the system was “in a difficult position” caught between state and federal laws.

“Spellings is just being whipsawed,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. “She’s in a tough spot, as is the system. They’re trying to do the best they can by their different constituencies.”

He said the request for a stay was sensible considering that the outcome of the Virginia case will likely dictate how the federal judges decide the North Carolina lawsuits.

“The district judges in North Carolina are probably not going to do anything other than what the 4th Circuit says,” he said.

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