A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, NoReuters

The Department of Justice told North Carolina's governor on Wednesday that a new state law limiting restroom access for transgender people violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

In a letter to Republican Governor Pat McCrory that was seen by Reuters, the Justice Department said the state was "engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees," and it had until Monday to address the issue.

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McCrory's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


In March, North Carolina became the first state in the country to require transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings and schools that match the sex on their birth certificate instead of one that matches their gender identity.

The law thrust North Carolina into the center of a debate over equality, privacy and religious freedom in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that legalized same-sex marriage.

Prominent entertainers have canceled performances in the state in protest of the law, associations have relocated conventions, and companies have halted projects that would create jobs in the state

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