US & Canada

N Carolina leaders divided on federal response to LGBT law

Protesters of HB2 Image copyright AP
Image caption The law has spurred protest by major businesses in the state

North Carolina leaders are divided on whether they will respond to Justice Department concerns over an LGBT law that has sparked a national outcry.

The law invalidated several local anti-discrimination measures that protected gay and transgender people.

It also requires people to use public toilets that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

The US Justice Department told the state the legislation violates national civil rights laws.

It gave the state a deadline of Monday to agree not to enforce it.

North Carolina's Republican Governor Pat McCrory called the justice department warning an "overreach", but plans to respond to the Department of Justice by the Monday deadline.

"All I can say is that the governor will have a response by Monday," said Mr McCrory's press secretary Graham Wilson told the BBC.

The state could lose millions in federal funding for education if it upholds the law, known as House Bill 2.

Image copyright AP
Image caption North Carolina's house speaker said the legislature will not meet the Monday deadline

"We will take no action by Monday," Tim Moore, Republican speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, said on Thursday. "That deadline will come and go."

"We don't ever want to lose any money, but we're not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday's date. That's not how this works."

Mr Moore signalled that lawmakers are meeting to determine what to do about the letter.

"Right now we're talking with our attorneys to see what our options are."

Democratic North Carolina representative Cecil Brockman called the bill "unnecessary, ill-conceived and discriminatory" in a tweet, calling for a full repeal of the law.

Image copyright Twitter

Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato and other artists who cancelled concerts and major businesses pulled out of the state.

Companies like Bank of America and Apple have criticised the law.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the justice department's enforcement action was made independently of any direction from the White House.

Specifically, the justice department has an issue with the bathroom provision of the law. It said that the law represents "a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender employees".

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