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Apple, eBay, IBM Back Obama Admin's Lawsuit Against NC Transgender Bathroom Law

Apple, eBay, IBM Back Obama Admin's Lawsuit Against NC Transgender Bathroom Law

A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access adorns the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. The hotel installed the restroom signage designed by artist Peregrine Honig last month after North Carolina's "bathroom law" gained national attention, positioning the state at the center of a debate over equality, privacy and religious freedom. | (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Drake)

Nearly 70 leading companies have filed a friend-of-the-Court brief to support the Department of Justice in its lawsuit to block North Carolina's HB2 bathroom law.

The companies include American Airlines, United Airlines, Apple, Cisco, eBay, General Electric, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, NIKE, Salesforce, PayPal, Ikea and the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains.

"By compelling transgender persons in North Carolina to deny their gender identity when using public facilities, H.B. 2 stigmatizes them and conveys a clear message — with the full force of State law — that they are second-class citizens whose gender identity is under-serving of solicitude or respect," the brief says. "This inescapably tends to legitimize discrimination against transgender persons generally."

H.B. 2 mandates that, in all state and local government owned buildings, including public schools, airports, and agencies in North Carolina, transgender individuals must use only those single-sex facilities that correspond to the gender on their birth certificates. Private businesses and institutions can make their own policies about bathroom use.

Besides large corporations throwing their weight against North Carolina's law, celebrities like Bruce Springsteen also canceled his concert in the state to protest the law.

Franklin Graham, who heads Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – based in North Carolina – responded on Facebook: "Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. He says the N.C. law ‪#‎HB2‬ to prevent men from being able to use women's restrooms and locker rooms is going 'backwards instead of forwards.' Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands. Back to common sense," Graham wrote on his Facebook page.

"Mr. Springsteen, a nation embracing sin and bowing at the feet of godless secularism and political correctness is not progress."

In March, North Carolina lawkmakers introduced HB2 to override the civil rights ordinance passed in Charlotte that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choosing. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the measure saying it is needed "to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette" in Charlotte.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore had stated that HB2 was needed to address concerns of many people about privacy.

"The way the ordinance was written by City Council in Charlotte, it would have allowed a man to go into a bathroom, locker or any changing facility, where women are — even if he was a man," stated Moore.

"We were concerned. Obviously there is the security risk of a sexual predator, but there is the issue of privacy."

In response to North Carolina's transgender bathroom law, retailer Target announced that it would adopt the policy that allows people to go into the bathrooms and dressing rooms that they identify with rather than their biological sex. This incited the conservative Christian group American Family Association to launch a petition against Target and over 1 million Americans vowed to boycott the store.

"I'm thankful to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory & other state legislators for standing up to the bullying and intimidation of the Obama Administration over HB2, NC's bathroom bill," Graham wrote in a Facebook post after the Justice Department sent an ultimatum to McCrory claiming the state's bathroom law violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "Our president and his appointees aren't supposed to be making laws and bypassing Congress. That's dangerous."

The Justice Department and the Department of Education recently released a "guidance," saying that all federally funded schools must allow students to use restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities and activities according to their self-proclaimed gender identity.

However, an online petition started by Family Research Council against the Obama administration's "overreach in bullying parents and local school districts" to allow students to use restrooms and other facilities as per their gender identity gained about 100,000 signatures.

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