RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina government and university officials have until today to tell federal attorneys whether they would stop enforcing a new law blocking LGBT protections, particularly provisions requiring transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex.
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said Sunday he will decide how to respond to the U.S. Justice Department by the deadline but sounds little interested in capitulating to the agency. Government attorneys contend the law approved by the state Legislature in March violates the federal Civil Rights Act.
The Justice Department is "trying to define gender identity, and there is no clear identification or definition of gender identify," McCrory said on Fox News Sunday.
McCrory said he was not aware of any North Carolina cases of transgender people using their gender identity to access a restroom and molest someone, a fear frequently cited by the law's supporters.
The governor said there was no comparison between civil rights laws that forbid racial discrimination and the Justice Department's claim that the federal law also protects transgender people.
"We can definitely define the race of people. It's very hard to define transgender or gender identity," McCrory said, adding his request for more time to respond to the Justice Department was denied.
The legislature scheduled no recorded votes or substantive action for today.