Tyrrell Visitor Center bathrooms included in judge’s order

Published 6:52 pm Saturday, August 3, 2019

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder on July 23 declared that bathrooms and other “public facilities” under the authority of North Carolina’s Executive Branch are open to individuals based on “gender identity” instead of biological sex.

The latest development in the ongoing legal saga over access to public bathrooms means that Executive Branch agencies may not “prevent transgender people from lawfully using public facilities in accordance with their gender identity” and may not “prosecute an individual…for using public facilities under the control or supervision of the Executive Branch, when such otherwise lawful use conforms with the individual’s gender identity.”

The judge’s consent decree applies to public facilities under the authority of the Office of the Governor, the State Attorney General, and the N.C. Departments of Administration, Health & Human Services, and Transportation.

The N.C. Department of Transportation owns and operates the restrooms in the Tyrrell County Visitor Center in Columbia, those in Engelhard, Plymouth and on Roanoke Island, as well as others across the Tar Heel State.

The consent decree essentially echoes portions of an Executive Order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper in October 2017, which directs, “State agencies, boards, commissions, and departments under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor will not adopt policies or regulations barring, prohibiting, blocking, deterring, or impeding any individual who lawfully uses public facilities under their control or supervision, in accordance with that individual’s gender identity.”