North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is firing back at the Obama administration for what he says is the federal government trying to make states conform to its cultural agenda, threatening “extortion” to compel his state to abandon its new public accommodation law and comparing the debate over transgender access to the civil rights movement.
The debate expanded in two major ways this week after Gov. Pat McCrory rejected the Obama administration’s assertion that North Carolina was in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. McCrory also announced he was asking the federal courts to define what is meant by the discrimination based on sex in the law. The same day, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Justice Department was bringing action against the state for denying civil rights to transgenders by requiring them to use facilities based on their sex at birth.
But Lynch didn’t stop there. She also said the state could be losing considerable amounts of federal assistance if it did not back down.
“We retain the option of curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds,” Lynch said.
Forest is appalled.
“We sued first because they came through the Justice Department and said, ‘Unless you do what we say and repeal this law, we’re going to take away four billion dollars of tax dollars from North Carolina. We’re going to take away your education Title IX funding. We’re going to take away your [Housing and Urban Development] funding. We’re going to take away your transportation funding because we don’t agree with your law,’ even though it’s the same law the federal government has, along with 28 states,” Forest explained.
He told WND and Radio America he is used to strong arm tactics from the Obama administration, but this reaches a new level.
“For the federal government to tell us now that they think that should be the law of the land, this is really going too far,” he said. “Using extortion to do that is a pretty extreme measure, even from this administration.”
Forest said schoolkids will suffer the most if Obama and Lynch make good on that promise.
“The Obama administration right now is holding North Carolina children hostage by trying to take away their education funding from the federal level to push a radical, extreme agenda of this administration,” said Forest, who wants Congress to assert control over the spending of the agencies the government is using to pressure North Carolina.
While the federal government, many liberal interest groups and the media are hostile toward the North Carolina law, Forest said the vast majority of the people in North Carolina agree with Gov. McCrory and the legislature. He is also quick to point out that liberals on the Charlotte City Council started this fight, not Republicans in Raleigh.
“Nobody, prior to Charlotte’s ordinance, was worried about a transgender person going in the bathroom,” Forest said. “It was probably happening, people were OK with it, and they probably didn’t even notice it. Charlotte brought up the law. [The Charlotte ordinance] is unconstitutional and very extreme, so we had to address that.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest:
Most reports contend the Charlotte city ordinance allowed transgenders to use the men’s or women’s facilities based on their gender identity. Forest said it went much further than that.
“What this Charlotte ordinance actually said is that you would have to take the male and female bathroom signs off the bathroom,” Forest explained. “You couldn’t have male and female signs anymore. Those would have to come down. They’d all have to be (gender) neutral signs, not just for the government, but for all of the business community as well.”
In addition to announcing the lawsuit against North Carolina and threatening to withhold federal funds, Lynch compared the new public accommodation law with the segregation era.
“This is not the first time we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in the fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education,” Lynch said.
“It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, has other signs above restrooms, water fountains and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference,” added Lynch.
Forest is disgusted by the assertion.
“Absolutely shameful is what it is,” he said. “These are completely different things. For her to bring this up as if it’s some great civil rights case in America today is really shameful. To be painting that picture on the South or on North Carolina or anybody else just shows she doesn’t understand this issue.”
Forest contends a person’s race should never have been used to determine who could use drinking fountains, restrooms or lunch counters or where people could sit on a bus. He said that’s the opposite of what is happening in North Carolina now.
“That is absolute discrimination and never should have taken place in America,” said Forest of the civil rights era. “But what bathroom a biological male or female uses in going into a bathroom that has a sign that has male or female on it has everything to do with biological sex.”
While the federal government contends the 1964 law meant to include sexual orientation in its references to sex discrimination, Forest said the courts have said North Carolina’s position in correct.
“That’s just not the case,” he said. “There are plenty of lawsuits out there in the federal courts that say that is not the case. The Supreme Court has decided not to rule on that because they don’t believe that’s the case, either. That’s why it’s going to the federal courts now for a decision.”
Forest said blurring the lines between the sexes not only infringes on the expectation of privacy, but gives a green light to sexual predators who will use looser standards to their advantage.
“There’s a bunch of nefarious characters out there,” he said. “We have 24,000 registered sex offenders in North Carolina. Don’t give them a loophole. Don’t give them an opening to walk into a bathroom or a shower or anything like that. You don’t want to do that. It defies logic. It defies common sense.”
If North Carolina were to capitulate to the Obama administration or the courts ultimately rule against his state, Forest said there will be far more discrimination than there is now when it comes to public accommodation in the Tar Heel State.
“What we don’t talk about is who is really being discriminated against,” he said. “That’s women and children, who haven’t had a voice in this, the 99 percent of the population of women and children who don’t want a biological male walking into a place where they should have the most security and privacy of all, and that’s in a bathroom, a shower or a changing facility.”