Evangelist Franklin Graham has thanked North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for standing strong in defense of the state's recently passed transgender bathroom law despite significant backlash from the federal government, politicians, and Hollywood celebrities.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Justice Department announced a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina and Gov. McCrory, arguing that the new "bathroom law," which states that in schools and government buildings, males and females need to use the bathrooms that coincide with the gender stated on their birth certificate, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
At the time, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the bill is "state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals."
In turn, McCrory's office filed a lawsuit Monday announcing it is suing the US Department of Justice over its attempts to bar the state from upholding the bill, arguing that US Congress should "bring clarity" to current anti-discrimination laws.
"I do not agree with their interpretation of federal law. That is why this morning I have asked a federal court to clarify what the law actually is,'' McCrory said at a news conference on Monday.
The BBC notes that North Carolina could lose significant federal funding for state universities if it upholds the legislation.
In a Facebook post on May 10, Graham, the president of the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and president of Samaritan's Purse, praised state officials for refusing to give in to federal "bullying."
"I'm thankful to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory & other state legislators for standing up to the bullying and intimidation of the Obama Administration over HB2, NC's bathroom bill," Graham wrote. "Our president and his appointees aren't supposed to be making laws and bypassing Congress. That's dangerous."
Graham quoted the words of North Carolina's Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who stated that the Obama administration is "obviously more concerned with its radical, leftist agenda than with the safety and security of our women and children."
"I agree with NC Lt. Governor Dan Forest," Graham added. "This is far reaching - it impacts every state and every family in our nation, not just North Carolina. Let's pray for Gov. McCrory and all those fighting this battle for what is right."
As earlier reported, a number of Hollywood celebrities have voiced their opposition to the bill: Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr, Boston, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and more artists have canceled North Carolina concerts until McCrory fully repeals HB2.
Similarly, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has also said that he will refuse to defend the bathroom law in court.
"The governor is pouring gas on the fire that he lit by putting billions of dollars in education funding on the line," Cooper, McCrory's Democratic challenger in the 2016 gubernatorial election, said in a recent video statement. "Instead of doing what is right for our state, he is doubling down on what he knows he did wrong."