CHARLOTTE, NC — An appeals court decision threatens to dismantle at least part of House Bill Two.
The Federal Appeals Court says a Virginia teen can use the school bathroom matching the gender with which he identifies.
The ruling breathes new life into the battle against North Carolina’s bathroom ban because the Fourth Circuit Court in Virginia is the same court that handles appeals in North Carolina.
Legal analysts say Tuesday’s decision means North Carolina will likely have to follow the same ruling or risk losing billions in federal education funding.
“It gives me a lot of hope,” said transgender activist Paige Dula.
At the heart of this federal appeals case is a Gloucester County, VA high school student, Gavin Grimm.
The court ruled the school violated Title IX discrimination policy by forcing the transgender boy to use the girl’s bathroom or a private restroom.
Something Dula can relate with through experiences at past jobs.
“It’s very demeaning and demoralizing,” said Dula.
HB2 calls for North Carolina schools to do the same as the VA school did in Grimm’s case.
Violating IX could cost the Tar Heel state up to $4.5 billion in federal education funds.
“If there was any uncertainty about that before, I think that this ruling sends a clear message that it’s a negative impact for our state,” said Equality NC’s Crystal Richardson.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already filed a lawsuit against the state arguing in part that HB2 violates IX.
“The wind is very much at our back on all of the issues,” said ACLU NC Legal Director Chris Brooks.
North Carolina’s House Speaker Tim Moore tells WCCB Charlotte, “The panel’s reasoning is unsound at best and this argument is far from over in the courts and in the court of public opinion.”
Gov. Pat McCrory says the court decision sets a bad precedent.
“Allow the high schools to make appropriate arrangements for those students who have a unique circumstances,” says Gov. McCrory.
HB2 author Rep. Dan Bishop did not return calls to comment on the appeals court decision.
Lawmakers return for the short session on Monday and are expected to talk about McCrory’s executive order that requests they change parts of HB2.