NC and Department of Justice Sue Each Other Over State’s ‘Bathroom Bill’

iStock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- North Carolina and the U.S. Justice Department sued each other Monday amid escalating tension over a controversial law that critics have called "anti-LGBT.”

North Carolina first filed a lawsuit Monday against the Department of Justice in an effort to push back against a warning that House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act. The law bans people from using bathrooms that don't match the sex indicated on their birth certificate.

The Justice Department then filed its own saying "transgender individuals seeking access to covered facilities have suffered and continue to suffer injury, including, without limitation, emotional harm, mental anguish, distress, humiliation, and indignity as a direct and proximate result of compliance with and implementation of HB2."

The DOJ lawsuit asks the court to "issue a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent further violations of federal law," which would block North Carolina from enforcing the HB2 law.

The DOJ Friday sent a letter to the state informing the government that the state's HB2, also known as the "bathroom bill," violates the Civil Rights Act. The department gave the state until Monday to respond to the letter “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”

"This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said during a news conference on Monday. “This is about the dignity and respect 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 reiterated that her department 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.

Gov. Pat McCrory, along with fellow plaintiff Frank Perry, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, accused the DOJ of a "radical reinterpretation" of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and wrote that the federal government position was "a baseless and blatant overreach," according to the state's declaratory judgment action filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

"This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the Courts," the complaint states.

McCrory and Perry also argue that transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

During a news briefing this afternoon, McCrory said he filed the suit to gain "clarity" on federal anti-discrimination laws.

"We believe a court, rather than a federal agency, should tell our state, our nation and employers throughout the nation, what the law requires," he said.

He also criticized the DOJ's tight deadline.

"This was a substantial request with very serious implications and the U.S. government gave us a mere three businesses days to respond," he said.

McCrory said the DOJ would only extend the deadline if he made a public statement agreeing with the government's interpretation with federal law.

The complaint makes no mention of the DOJ's interpretation of Title IX. The DOJ Friday also sent a letter to the University of North Carolina, declaring that the school system was in violation of Title IX of the Higher Education Act.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, ruled in April that a Virginia high school policy banning a transgender student from using the boys' restrooms was discriminatory.

The North Carolina law, which critics say is anti-LGBT because it discriminates against gay and transgender residents, has been the source of controversy since it was first introduced. But supporters argue the law defends religious liberty and protects girls in public restrooms.

HB2 was signed into law by Gov. McCrory in March, and directs all public schools, government agencies and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms, be designated for use only by people based on their "biological sex" stated on their birth certificate. Transgender people can use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity only if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed.

The law also declares that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Labrador retriever flunks out of bomb-sniffing school for not wanting to detect bombs

Labrador retriever flunks out of bomb-sniffing school for not wanting to detect bombsRuskpp/iStock/Thinkstock(MCLEAN, Va.) -- A Labrador retriever named Lulu has flunked out of bomb-sniffing school after she displayed to her handlers that she was no longer interested in detecting bombs, according to the CIA.

"We are sad to announce that Lulu has been dropped from the program," the CIA announced in a press release Wednesday.

Lulu did not make the cut to graduate with her fellow fall 2017 puppy classmates after she began to show signs that she wasn't interested in sniffing out explosive odors a few weeks into training.

We’re sad to announce that a few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors.

— CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017

There are a million reasons why a dog has a bad day & our trainers must become doggy psychologists to figure out what will help pups.

— CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017

Pups often have off days when they're training for such an important job, the CIA said. The issue -- which can often be fixed with more playtime and breaks -- is often temporary.

"After a few days, the trainers work the pup through whatever issue has arisen, and the dog is back eagerly and happily ready to continue training," the CIA said. "But for some dogs, like Lulu, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t temporary."

Lulu wasn’t interested in searching for explosives.
Even when motivated w food & play, she was clearly no longer enjoying herself.

— CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017

Lulu was no longer motivated to search for explosives and was "clearly not enjoying herself any longer" when motivated to do so with food and play.

"It's imperative that the dogs enjoy the job they’re doing," the CIA said.

Trainers made the "extremely difficult decision" to drop Lulu from the program for her physical and mental well-being, the CIA said.

Lulu's handler adopted her, so she now enjoys cushy work-free days that include playing with his children and sniffing out rabbits and squirrels in the backyard. She even has a new friend -- a fellow Labrador retriever -- to hang out with all day.

Lulu was adopted by her handler & now enjoys her days playing w his kids & a new friend, & sniffing out rabbits & squirrels in the backyard.

— CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017

"We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her," the CIA said. "We wish her all the best in her new life."

We’ll miss Lulu, but it was right decision for her & we wish her all the best in her new life!

— CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017

Lulu's handler is still on the search for an explosive detection K-9 partner, the CIA said.

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