Titles VII and IX misapplied to HB2

Ever since HB2 was passed, the transgender lobby and the national news media have succeeded in bringing dishonor to our state by misleading and misinforming the public. Now, President Obama and his drama queen Attorney General have made matters worse by misapplying two historic acts to this controversy, and by circumventing two other branches of government in order to dictate policy to states and schools.

It is no coincidence that this mess sprung up just as Gov. McCrory’s approval ratings were rising from his leadership in passing a bi-partisan, $2 billion bond that will strengthen the very schools that Obama now seeks to harm. It is also no coincidence that North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running to unseat McCrory this fall, was MIA during the bond campaign, while fellow Democrats like former Lt. Governor Walter Dalton actively supported McCrory.

And it is no coincidence that Cooper has tacitly approved of companies and entertainers who have boycotted North Carolina over HB2. Cooper’s political motives can be addressed in another column. For now, it’s more important to review how and why the so-called “Bathroom Bill” came about, and what happens next.

Earlier this year, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts pushed through an ordinance that would require all private businesses to accommodate transgender demands for access to bathrooms according to their gender identity. In doing so, Charlotte City Council over stepped its authority under the State Constitution, and by threatening to put their ordinance into effect on April 1, forced the Governor and General Assembly to respond with warp speed to block the illegal act. The result was House Bill 2. Unfortunately a handful of far right wing Republicans hijacked the bill and inserted discriminatory language and nut job provisions into it (like denying fired civil employees the right of redress in state court). McCrory, who only wanted to preserve privacy rights, was outflanked and outnumbered, so he signed HB2 figuring that a federal court would eventually clarify the privacy issue for all 50 States. Nevertheless, McCrory, a former seven term consensus building Mayor of Charlotte, and architect of the aforementioned education bond, was now painted by transgenders and the media as an intolerant villain. Meanwhile, a parade of hypocritical companies and entertainers began to boycott North Carolina. They threatened not to do business in our state until HB2 was repealed, even though they do business in other states with the same law as ours, and in foreign countries where gays and Transgenders are routinely imprisoned and worse. Eventually this mess would have been sorted out, but instead of waiting for the courts to resolve the matter, President Obama poured fuel on the fire by directing his Attorney General to start issuing threats.

US Attorney General Lorretta Lynch, an African American prosecutor born in Greensboro, threatened to rescind billions of dollars in federal funding for North Carolina schools if McCrory tried to enact HB2. It was a cruel threat which, if carried out, would impact most on students who could least afford the loss of funding. She gave the governor three days to bow to her threat, and the governor responded by suing the Department of Justice. Lynch who “identifies” as God, then countered with a law suit of her own. Obama humanely promised not to cut off any school funding while litigation was pending, but last Friday he, Lynch, and the Department of Education, fired another salvo. They issued a letter to 13,000 school districts across the country, telling them, in effect, to start allowing transgender students to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower areas in accordance with the gender to which they identify, OR ELSE. In doing so, Lynch over stepped her authority. The Attorney General is the President’s top cop, but cops don’t get to interpret the law. That’s the role of a judge. And cops don’t get to change laws. That’s the job of Congressmen. Speaking with FOX News, Judge Jeanine Pirro said, “The White House threat does not have the force of law. They cannot force the schools to do this. This is a local issue. This is a State issue. This is not about discrimination, it’s about accommodating students.” But Lynch thought she had legal standing by hiding behind Title VII and Title IX. In fact, she has no such standing.

The language in Title VII (Sec 703 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act) is crystal clear. It deals with discriminatory employment practices, not bathroom rules. It also does not extend protections to anyone who merely “identifies” with a particular race, color, religion, or sex. If it did, then why didn’t the Obama administration prosecute the Spokane NAACP for forcing out Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who “identified as Black”? Moreover, Lynch should be ashamed of herself for comparing HB2 to the same kind of state sponsored discrimination that blacks faced when whites were denying people of color, equal access to schools, restaurants, and housing. Her misplaced and selective outrage over civil rights rings hollow, including with members of the law enforcement community. While interviewed by Greta Van Susteren, David Clarke, an African American sheriff from Milwaukee County remarked on “the cop-hating Department of Justice, led by a racist Attorney General.”

HB2 also does not violate Title IX, a law enacted in 1972 primarily to ensure female students that they would have access to educational and athletic programs on par with those of male students. The late Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana who led the charge for Title IX, was specific about the intent of the law, saying it would provide “an equal chance (for women) to attend the school of their choice…and to have a fair chance to secure the jobs of their choice with equal pay for equal work.” Clearly transgender folks are already afforded those rights under Title IX, but they are not afforded the right to use gender specific facilities according to whichever gender they identify with.

Apparently Ms. Lynch didn’t bother to actually read Title IX, or the ten criteria it established for determining if equal treatment existed among the sexes.

Criteria #7 deals with locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms which are defined as being “competitive facilities”. That means a transgender person is only guaranteed an equal facility, not the SAME shower as a student whose biological gender is one with which the transgender student “identifies.”

Loretta Lynch and Barack Obama are out of control and out of bounds by threatening to sue or cut funding to States who recognize biological gender as the rule of law. And they are out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans who simply expect the right to privacy in bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. If by some miracle our public schools are ever forced to let teenage boys shower with teenage girls, then I would urge all parents to pull their children out of public schools, and enroll them in private schools. I would then advise them to join a class action suit against the DOJ and DOE to reimburse them for the cost of private school tuition. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Last week a Virginia Beach pizza parlor erected a sign that says, “We have a men’s room, and we have a ladies’ room. If this confuses you, we can help.” Right now Obama and Lynch need a lot of help. !

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).