The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday that a North Carolina law limiting protections to LGBT people violates federal civil rights laws and can't be enforced.
The Justice Department's intervention puts the state in danger of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal school funding.
In a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, the department put the state on notice that federal officials view the state law as violating federal Civil Rights Act protections barring workplace discrimination based on sex. Provisions of the state law directed at transgender state employees violate their anti-discrimination protections, the letter said.
"The State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both you, in your official capacity, and the state are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance" of their rights, the letter said.
McCrory has defended the state law, which limits legal protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It also requires transgender people to use public bathrooms that conform to the sex on their birth certificate.
Beyoncé also lent her support on Wednesday to efforts to overturn the law.
The entertainment icon did not directly speak out against House Bill 2 on her website Wednesday, but she did display a photo of a person wearing a T-shirt displaying the slogan "Y'all means all" followed by the Internet address of Equality NC.
In a statement on her site, Beyoncé said Equality NC is one of several organizations "doing the good work to get this bill overturned," and asked her fans to donate, volunteer or attend an event.
Beyoncé brought her The Formation World Tour to Raleigh on Wednesday. She said she thought it was important "to bring attention to those who are committed to ... carrying on the message of equality."
The Justice Department's letter said the law also violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in education based on sex. That could lead to North Carolina losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal school funding.