The state legislature passed House Bill 2 (HB2) in a special single-day session on March 23, and McCrory signed it into law later that night. News of the bill’s passage brought an immediate backlash against North Carolina, as governors around the country banned nonessential government travel there and artists and businesses increasingly cancelled plans to perform or set up shop in the state. Protests on the ground have continued for weeks, and the UK in April issued travel warnings against visiting “anti-gay” states like North Carolina and Mississippi, which also recently passed discriminatory legislation.

In response to the DOJ’s letter, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and LGBTQ civil rights law group Lambda Legal released a statement that read, “It is now clearer than ever that this discriminatory law violates civil rights protections and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds for North Carolina. Governor McCrory and the legislators who forced through HB2 in a single day were warned about these dire consequences, but they ignored the law and the North Carolinians it would harm and passed the bill anyway.”

“The only way to reverse the ongoing damage HB2 is causing to North Carolina’s people, economy, and reputation is a full repeal,” the groups said.

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, added, “North Carolina has sacrificed jobs, its standing in the nation, and its moral compass in defense of this repugnant law. We hope that today’s letter from the Justice Department will convince the state that the costs of codifying hate into state law are simply too high to ignore.”

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