Photo: AP

Last week, the Justice Department gave North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory until the end of the day on Monday to scrap the transphobic “bathroom bill.” Instead, he’s filing a lawsuit against the federal government.

McCrory defended the decision Monday, saying transgender bathroom use is a “a national issue that applies to every state and it needs to be resolved at the federal level.”

The Justice Department had threatened legal action against North Carolina if it proceeded to enforce the regulations, which required state employees to use bathrooms based on their biological sex, as identified by their birth certificates. According to the DOJ, this would constitute a “pattern or practice” of discriminating against transgender state employees.

In turn, McCrory’s lawsuit, filed in North Carolina’s Eastern District Court, accuses the Justice Department of “baseless and blatant overreach.” By taking this stand, the Associated Press reports, the governor could cost the 17-campus University of North Carolina more than $1.4 billion in public funding.

“I’m not going to publicly announce that something discriminates, which is agreeing with their letter, because we’re really talking about a letter in which they’re trying to define gender identity,” he protested on Sunday. “And there is no clear identification or definition of gender identity. It’s the federal government being a bully.”