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North Carolina Governor Drops 'Bathroom Bill' Lawsuit Because It's Too Expensive

Between court costs, lost tourism revenue, and company boycotts, HB2 has cost the state an estimated $395 million since it was passed in March.

by VICE Staff
Sep 19 2016, 9:00pm

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory. Photo via Flickr user NCDOTcommunications

After drumming up backlash from major corporations, performers, sporting organizations, and President Obama, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is dropping his state's lawsuit against the federal government over the controversial HB2 "bathroom bill." But not because he suddenly supports full equality for LGBTQ people, or anything.

According to NPR, McCrory decided to drop the suit to save the state some money, citing "interests of judicial economy and efficiency" in court documents filed Friday. The case is still expected to go to trial next May, however, because the feds countersued in an attempt to block the law, which critics say codified a new system of discrimination and remains on the books.

North Carolina originally sued the feds this spring, after Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the "impermissibly discriminatory" bill—which requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate—violated civil rights. The Justice Department also threatened to slowly take away some of the state's federal funding.

"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 said at a May press conference.

Last week, the NCAA and ACC college athletic conferences added to the state's economic burden by announcing plans to move championship games from the state, at the cost of an estimated $91.4 million in tourism revenue alone. According to Wired, the bill has cost the state an estimated $395 million since it was passed last March between company boycotts, lost tourism revenue, and court costs.

Some initial backers of the bill have since buckled under all the pressure, but McCrory is reportedly only down to axe it entirely if the city of Charlotte repeals a local law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Read: North Carolina Is Suing the Feds to Protect Its Anti-Trans Bathroom Law