GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It doesn't matter who you ask. It seems everyone has an opinion about House Bill 2. Monday, there were dueling rallies in Raleigh. Supporters of the law on one side of the street while opponents were on the other side.
READ: House Bill 2
The law requires people to use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. It also defines discrimination. It's that last part that's gotten a lot of criticism from big businesses like PayPal and Apple to superstars like Bruce Springsteen who canceled his Greensboro concert, citing HB 2.
2 Wants to Know is digging deeper into the discrimination portion of this law.
Congressman Mark Walker is supporting House Bill 2 and everything in it. He says at its core - its purpose is to protect children. But it's what he said about the anti-discrimination portion of this law that 2WTK's attention.
"I think it's been overblown and I think it's been used to try to insight different organizations because just because it doesn't have a specific language doesn't mean it excludes anybody," said Congressman Mark Walker, NC District 6. "In fact the new law, HB2, has actually stronger language than even the federal laws when it comes to anti-discrimination."
To clarify, WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower asked, "So HB2 is stronger than federal anti-discrimination laws?" Congressman Walker answered, "That is absolutely correct. Yes."
Congressman Walker's Communication director Kyle Hall says Walker was referring to the public accommodations portion of the law when he said HB 2 is stronger than federal law. In an emailed statement, Hall said, "Congressman Walker was referring to Title II and the federal statue regarding public accommodations. Title II only provides public accommodations discrimination protection for race, religion, color, or national origin. North Carolina law provides it for sex also. Additionally, North Carolina's definition of public accommodations is broader than under the federal statute."
There is no federal law that specifically prohibits employment discrimination against the LGBT community however, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a very specific opinion on Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title 7 prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion.
Ken Keller, an employment attorney, says "sex" can mean a lot more than gender.
"The EEOC has taken the position that Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 actually does provide protection for gay, transgender people under the rubric of no discrimination based on sex," explained Ken Keller.
He added, "So I think what the legislature was doing was making it clear that sexual preference, gender identification, is not protected."
Keller says HB 2 offers no protection for LGBT people who believe they were discriminated against in the workplace. He says their only option now is to take their complaint to federal court.
"It is so much more difficult and more expensive to litigate in federal court," said Keller.
Congressman Walker says there are some portions of the law that could be "tightened up" but as a US representative, there's not much he can do about a state law.
He is publicly supporting this law now because he feels Governor McCrory is getting railroaded and says supporters need to back him.
Governor Pat McCrory has said he is willing to consider amendments to the law.
The General Assembly's short session starts April 25.