Pat McCrory isn't backing down--for now.
On Wednesday evening, the embattled North Carolina governor spoke out about the recent Department of Justice verdict on House Bill 2, the controversial legislation that Vanita Gupta, the principal deputy assistant attorney general, determined was in violation of federal law. Speaking to business leaders in the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, McCrory brushed off the ramifications of Gupta's statement. He called it the "interpretation of just one agency in the Obama administration."
In his address, McCrory reiterated earlier claims about HB 2, which struck down local nondiscrimination ordinances across the state that provided equal access in all public accommodations, including restaurants, city parks, and restrooms. In doing so, the bill effectively forced trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth, not their gender identity.
"I thought it was a very common-sense rule, but the federal government is now saying those are discriminatory practices," McCrory told the Associated Press.
Earlier in the day, House Speaker Roy Moore spoke to the AP about the Department of Justice's position on HB 2, which the agency claims is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. These federal policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, which the Obama Administration clarified in a 2014 memo extends to gender identity. That means that, as far as the federal government is concerned, discrimination against trans students violates federal law.
"Basic concepts -- common sense about privacy and expectations of privacy -- are getting thrown out the window by what the Obama administration is trying to do in this," Moore said, echoing McCrory's statements. He called Gupta's stance part of a "radical left agenda."
On Wednesday, Gupta stated the reasoning for her decision in a three-page letter. "Access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition or privilege of employment," Gupta wrote. "Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from the gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII."
The same day Gupta's letter went public, McCrory published a response to his official website condemning the document.
"The Obama administration has not only staked out its position for North Carolina, but for all states, universities and most employers in the U.S," he wrote in the press release. "The right and expectation of privacy in one of the most private areas of our personal lives is now in jeopardy. We will be reviewing to determine the next steps."
The governor has until Monday to decide the state's plan of action, according to Greenville TV station, WNCT. North Carolina stands to lose millions of dollars in federal funding should McCrory choose to defy the federal ruling.