April 14 (UPI) -- The Justice Department said Friday it is dropping a lawsuit begun under the Obama administration against the state of North Carolina over its transgender bathroom restrictions after lawmakers there struck a compromise.
In a two-sentence filing, the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it was abandoning the suit in the wake of a political settlement of the dispute, which required all individuals, including transgender people, to use the bathroom in accordance with the gender on their birth certificate.
The so-called "bathroom bill," or House Bill 2, was the source of mass protests and numerous corporate boycotts of North Carolina because opponents said it discriminated against transgender individuals. Supporters of the legislation said it protected women and children against men seeking to take advantage of political correctness to assault them in public bathrooms.
The law was passed by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016. Liberals rallied against the law and Roy Cooper, a Democrat, narrowly defeated McCrory thanks in part to the uproar HB 2 created.
Facing a potential boycott by the NCAA for hosting games in its men's and women's basketball tournaments -- a loss of millions in economic activity and a particularly personal burn in a basketball-crazed state -- lawmakers and Cooper reached a compromise that ended the state's transgender bathroom prohibition.
LGBT groups assailed the compromise as falling short because it did not go so far as to expressly protect transgender rights guaranteeing them equal access to public facilities, as many other states have. Instead, the state left it up to counties, cities and towns to decide for themselves whether to take that step.