FUNDING/LAW: N.C.’s LGBT law may compromise transportation funding says Foxx

April 1, 2016

The law strips gays and lesbians of discrimination protections and may violate Title VII antidiscrimination protections

North Carolina's controversial LGBT law is facing opposition from many in Washington and it could mean major local road projects miss out on important federal funding down the road. Legal precedence exists that could allow the federal government to cut North Carolina off.

It puts $4.5 billion in federal funding at risk.

During a visit to Charlotte this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary and former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said a law that critics have viewed as stripping gays and lesbians from discrimination protection in North Carolina could derail federal transportation funding in the future.

"We are actually reviewing the statute now and taking a look at whether our programs are implicated and whether there is a potential loss of federal funding in North Carolina," Foxx said.

As of Thursday, a U.S. DOT spokesperson said the department is still reviewing the issue.

Legal experts are looking at whether the law Gov. Pat McCrory signed last week violates the department's nondiscrimination polices along with current federal civil rights protections under Title VII. Constitution lawyer and former County Commissioner Harold Cogdell believes the issue is on track to head to the U.S. Supreme Court. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against the state challenging the law.

The ACLU also argues the law violates Title IX by discriminating against students and school employees on the basis of sex.

Cogdell said a Supreme Court ruling on LGBT protections may give federal agencies more support to hold back crucial dollars if they want to do so. "Until that issue gets resolved as to the applicability or the interpretation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution to this particular piece of legislation than the issue remains unresolved," said Cogdell.