Groups seek immediate halt to NC law restricting transgender bathroom choice

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Transgender Bathroom Concern

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., May 16 (Reuters) - Groups supporting the rights of transgender people filed a motion on Monday asking a U.S. judge to block North Carolina from enforcing a law that mandates bathroom access according to birth sex while the measure is being challenged.

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The preliminary injunction is needed to protect transgender people from suffering irreparable harm due to the law known as House Bill 2, said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of North Carolina, and Lambda Legal, a national advocacy group for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

See protests against the law:

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Protests against North Carolina transgender bathroom law
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Groups seek immediate halt to NC law restricting transgender bathroom choice
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A display inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina features books by authors who support the repeal of HB2 on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A sign next to the men's bathroom inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina denounces North Carolina's HB2 legislation on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - JUNE 21: A bulletin board inside Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina features upcoming author visits and events scheduled for the bookstore on June 21, 2016. Malaprop's has had authors cancel and a decline in sales due to North Carolina's HB2 legislation, commonly known as the bathroom bill, and the resulting boycott of the state by authors, athletes and tourists. (Photo by Jacob Biba for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16 - Protestors gather across the street from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 16, 2016. House Bill 2, also known as the Bathroom Bill, which requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate, has received the attention of national media and the White House. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16 - Protestors gather across the street from the North Carolina state legislative building as they voice their concerns over House Bill 2, in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 16, 2016. House Bill 2, also known as the Bathroom Bill, which requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate, has received the attention of national media and the White House. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
DURHAM, NC - MAY 10: The 'We Are Not This' slogan is posted at the entrances to Bull McCabes Irish Pub on May 10, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. Debate over transgender bathroom access spreads nationwide as the U.S. Department of Justice countersues North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory from enforcing the provisions of House Bill 2 (HB2) that dictate what bathrooms transgender individuals can use. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Elaine Martin, right, listens as Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Joaquin Carcano, center, the lead plaintiff in the case, speaks during a press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's HB 2 law at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Monday, March 28, 2016. Several different advocacy groups and some of the lead plaintiffs spoke at the event. Joaquin was born a woman and is now a man. Simone Bell with Lambda Law is at left; Chris Brook with the ACLU is at right. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
TO GO AFP STORY BY BRIGITTE DUSSEAU - Transgender delegates Jamie Shier (L) and Janice Covington pose for photographs at the Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012. The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Wednesday that US President Barack Obama would move his acceptance speech from the outdoor Bank of America Stadium to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena due to predictions of thunderstorms. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)
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The law, enacted in March, made North Carolina the first state to ban people from using multiple-occupancy restrooms or changing rooms in public buildings and schools consistent with their gender identity. It sparked a national debate about equality versus privacy rights and has resulted in boycotts of the Southern state by businesses, conventions and entertainers.

"H.B. 2 is causing ongoing and serious harm to transgender people in North Carolina and must be put on hold while it is reviewed by the court," Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement.

The organizations previously sued North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the University of North Carolina over the law, which they argue is discriminatory.

The governor's office did not reply to a request for comment on Monday about the latest legal move, and university system spokeswoman Joni Worthington had no immediate comment.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who sits in Winston-Salem and was appointed by President George W. Bush, has been assigned to the case.

It is one of several legal and political battles over bathroom policies playing out in North Carolina and beyond.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department and North Carolina's governor sued each other over the state measure, which federal lawyers said violates U.S. civil rights laws. McCrory and other top Republicans in North Carolina accused the federal government of overreach.

A few days later, Obama's Democratic administration told U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice. Social conservatives immediately pushed back, with some state officials saying the nonbinding guidance should be challenged. (Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


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