Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks at the Justice Department on Monday, May 9, 2016, after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's administration sued the federal government in defense of a state law that says people in public facilities must use the restroom that corresponds with their biological sex. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Justice Department is putting the feelings of transgenders -- men who think they are women and women who think they are men -- above the privacy rights of the vast majority of people who don't contest the biological facts of who they actually are.
"And what we must not do, what we must never do, is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans for something that they cannot control and deny what makes them human," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Monday.
"[N]one of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something or someone that they are not."
But Lynch was referring to people who, in fact, are pretending to be something that -- biologically -- they are not. A man "identifying" as a woman is not a biological woman. And likewise, a woman "identifying" as a man is not a biological man. Until now, when the federal government has determined that biological facts matter less than wishes and feelings.
Lynch announced a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina because of the state's new law (HB-2), which requires transgender people in public facilities to use the restrooms consistent with their sex "as noted at birth," rather than the restrooms that fit their "gender identity."
"We are seeking a court order declaring HB-2's restroom restriction impermissibly discriminatory, as well as a statewide bar on its enforcement," Lynch announced. She said the Justice Department also retains the option of "curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds."
This came hours after North Carolina sued the Justice Department "for their radical reinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which would prevent plaintiffs from protecting the bodily privacy rights of state employees while accommodating the needs of transgendered state employees."
Lynch accused North Carolina and its leaders of creating "state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security, a right taken for granted by most of us."
(Much of the outcry over this issue comes from people who are not confused about their gender "as noted at birth," and who also "simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security." Many women, in particular, object to sharing restrooms with men who supposedly "identify" as women.)
Lynch said the federal civil rights lawsuit "is about a great deal more than bathrooms."
She even invoked the nation's "founding ideals," although it's unlikely that the nation's Founders ever envisioned the concept of "gender identity" as being open to interpretation.
In fact, the law invoked by Lynch -- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- does not explicitly include gender identity in its list of protected bases. It bars discrimination on the basis of "sex," a term that has been stretched over the years to include gender identity.
"This is about the dignity and the respect that we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we as a people and as a country have enacted to protect them, indeed, to protect all of us," Lynch said on Monday.
"And it's about the founding ideals that have led to this country haltingly, but inexorably, in the direction of fairness, inclusion, and equality for all Americans."
Lynch said North Carolina's "discriminatory" response to transgenders is no different than discrimination against blacks and homosexuals.
"Now, some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change. But this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, of diversity, of compassion and open- mindedness.
"And what we must not do, what we must never do is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans for something that they cannot control and deny what makes them human.
"And this is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something or someone that they are not or invents a problem that does not exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment."
Addressing her fellow North Carolinians, Lynch refuted those who say the bathroom law protects vulnerable populations (children and women) from harm (sexual predators posing as transgenders to get into the ladies' room).
"That is just not the case," she insisted. "Instead, what this law does is inflict further indignity on a population that has already suffered far more than its fair share.
"This law provides no benefit to society, and all it does is harm innocent Americans. And instead of turning away from our neighbors, our friends, and our colleagues, let us instead learn from our history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our past."