April 4, 2016; Washington Post
The federal departments of Education, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development are considering cutting funding from North Carolina in the wake of its passage of a law seen as discriminatory against the LGBTQ communities in that state. That law removes protections for gay, lesbians, and bisexuals and prohibits transgender individuals from using bathrooms not designated for the gender the user was assigned at birth. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said there were “both policy and legal questions that are raised by the passage of this law.”
This follows an open letter from 120 business leaders as well as other individual statements from business and industry heads who say that the provision is business-unfriendly.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the former mayor of Charlotte, said last week that the measure “isn’t who we are” and revealed that his department was reviewing whether it would prompt a loss in agency funds.
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“This is going beyond ideology,” the North Carolina native said. “This is going into a level of tyranny that I think is dangerous.”
Foxx’s agency alone sends approximately $1 billion a year to North Carolina. The Department of Education provides closer to $4.5 billion.
David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, says that a whole host of federal laws contain provisions on anti-discrimination, from Title IX in the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Affordable Care Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
“This North Carolina law is a sweeping law that really undercuts significant federal protections, and the federal government has a responsibility to examine what levers they have, and what authority they have, to ensure that transgender residents in North Carolina have the federal protections they’re entitled to,” he said.—Ruth McCambridge