RALEIGH --North Carolina is the latest state to face a business backlash over a law that many consider anti-gay.
This week, Georgia's governor vetoed a similar religious liberty bill. But North Carolina's governor is defending his state's new law -- even as 80 CEOs have campaigned against it.
Critics say the new law, called HB2, bars discrimination protection for people who are gay or transgender. Its most-talked about provision requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate -- supporters say, to protect privacy.
But Joaquin Carcano, a 27-year-old transgender man, disagrees. "They don't want to believe we exist."
Carcano is a plaintiff in a federal suit seeking to strike down the new law. He said the issue goes well beyond bathrooms.
"I believe bathrooms are just a cover for the real attack here. And I think it's just pure hostility."
Dozens of corporations have been critical. Bank of America, headquartered in Charlotte, called for the repeal of HB2 on Twitter.
Governors in New York, Washington, and Vermont banned most official state travel to North Carolina.
Greg Hatem owns a half-dozen restaurants in Raleigh that employ 500 people. He thinks the legislation sends the wrong message.
"I think the message is that certain people are welcome, and certain people aren't. And we're gonna get more into your personal life than we should."
North Carolina's Gov. Pat McCrory stands behind the law.
"I think we're using common sense, pragmatic etiquette to protect the expectation of privacy that all of us want when we use the most private facilities. And that's the rest room, locker room, and shower facilities, and this is what most states are doing right now."
The state's attorney general, Democrat Roy Cooper, has called the new law a "national embarrassment" and refused to defend it in court. But he's running for governor this November against McCrory, so politics clearly seem to figure in this controversy.