ACLU files lawsuit challenging North Carolina's modified 'bathroom bill'

A sign protesting a recent North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access is seen in the bathroom stalls at the 21C Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. | Reuters/Jonathan Drake/File Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against North Carolina's House Bill 142, a legislation that replaced the controversial HB2 bathroom bill.

In the lawsuit filed on Friday, the ACLU argued that the replacement law continues to discriminate against transgender people by leaving restroom policies in the hands of state lawmakers and preventing local governments or schools from setting rules or offering guidance.

"The vacuum purposefully created by H.B. 142 in effect maintains the ban of (the previous law) and encourages discrimination by both government and private entities and individuals," the suit stated, as reported by The Associated Press.

"The law offers no guidance to anyone except by implication and makes it impossible for a reasonable person who is transgender to know which restroom they can legally use," it continued.

HB 142 was approved last March following months of backlash from other states, entertainers and sports teams that refused to participate in events in North Carolina due to HB2, which required transgender to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

The replacement legislation basically revoked the bathroom bill, but it forbids cities and towns from creating ordinances pertaining to bathrooms and changing rooms until 2020.

The ACLU's legal director in North Carolina, Chris Brook, described the replacement law as a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

"It's time to make it clear to anti-LGBT legislators in our state, you haven't pulled the wool over our eyes and we must finally end state permitted discrimination," Brooke said, according to WAVY.

The lawsuit, which is a revamped version of an existing suit that challenged HB2 in federal court, argues that the legislation violates constitutional due process, equal protection rights and federal laws against discrimination in workplaces and schools.

The revamped lawsuit names Gov. Roy Cooper as a defendant and retains the same parties from the previous complaint, with the addition of two new plaintiffs.

The suit noted that one of the plaintiffs, Joaquín Carcaño, a 28-year-old transgender man who works for the University of North Carolina, has been unable to get a clarification from his employer on whether he is allowed to use bathrooms consistent with his gender identity since the new law passed.

Since the new legislation went into effect this year, sports leagues such as the NBA, NCAA and ACC stated that they will hold championship events in North Carolina again.

In March, the Associated Press published an analysis indicating that the bathroom bill could cost North Carolina more than $3.76 billion in lost business over 12 years.