North Carolina Governor Blames His State’s Bathroom Law on U.S. Government

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Republican Governors Discuss Meeting With President Obama
Sure, that's how that works. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2015 Getty Images

North Carolina — and especially its governor, Pat McCrory — has been the subject of widespread criticism since it passed a sweeping transphobic law that forces people to use the bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. Musicians have canceled concerts in the state, businesses have pulled outposts, and the U.S. Justice Department let McCrory know that his law violates the Civil Rights Act. McCrory was given a deadline to stop enforcing the law, he refused, the Justice Department sued him, and he sued back.

In short, it’s a messy situation, and McCrory is in the storm’s eye. But in an interview with Time, the governor protested that it’s not him, but Congress, that’s to blame.

As a country, Congress needs to step up and clarify the Civil Rights Act, which hasn’t been updated for decades,” McCrory told Time. “A lot of things have changed since then, including the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. There’s been dramatic change.” He went on: 

Congress has been sitting on the sidelines. Every city and state and town has its own non-discrimination ordinances that are very inconsistent. Non-discrimination laws belong at the federal level, and they have not been updated.

In other words, McCrory is blaming his state’s widely criticized bill on Congress — if the federal government had, as he said, “clarified” the outdated Civil Rights Act, North Carolina wouldn’t have needed to pass its own (highly restrictive) regulations. 

Of course, the government let him know full well that his state’s legislation is breaking the law. But that was after the fact, and it seems McCrory doesn’t trust the Obama administration’s interpretation of the Civil Rights Act. He’d rather have the entirety of Congress pass sweeping changes in the Civil Rights Act — a process that could take years.

Pat McCrory Blames Bathroom Law on Congress