JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Missouri Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says he's backing North Carolina over a lawsuit to defend the state's so-called bathroom law.

Kinder on Tuesday said the U.S. Justice Department overstepped its authority by suing the state over the law.

At issue is a new law requiring transgender people to use public restrooms and showers corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the law amounts to state-sponsored discrimination.

Kinder is running for governor and faces a GOP primary against suburban St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL officer Eric Greitens and former House speaker and U.S. attorney Catherine Hanaway.

Kinder says the Justice Department lawsuit is an "unprecedented assault on our privacy and safety."