The University of North Carolina system has finally taken a firm stance against its state’s so-called “bathroom bill.” UNC system president Margaret Spellings said in a federal court yesterday that she has no plans to enforce the state law requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate. The law applies to public schools and many public buildings.
In March, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act into law; state university administrations are required to comply. But they are also must satisfy a federal injunction that forbids public schools from enforcing the discriminatory law under threat of legal action and the withdrawal of federal funding.
In recent statements, Spellings hasn’t taken a firm position on the matter, except to highlight that it is a fraught position to be in. Two weeks ago she wrote in a letter, “We hope that the Department of Justice appreciates that the University is in a difficult position.”
But apparently appreciation has its limits, and yesterday Spellings changed her tune. As part of a motion asking a federal court to stop civil legal proceedings against UNC, Spellings wrote that, whatever the outcome, “I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex.”
UNC’s lawyers noted that the state law lacks any enforcement mechanism whatsoever.