North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has defended a state law that targets the LGBT community.

In a letter to CEOs who have spoken out against House Bill 2, Berger reiterated his support for the controversial law that has provoked an economic and political backlash.

“Make no mistake: I supported, and continue to support, the legislation many refer to as 'the bathroom bill' or House Bill 2,” Berger wrote. “I support this law because I think it provides common sense protections for North Carolinians.”

House Bill 2 was a knee jerk reaction to passage of an LGBT protections bill in Charlotte. Lawmakers approved and Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill during a one-day special session. It repealed Charlotte's ordinance and blocked other cities from enacting similar measures. It also bars transgender people in government buildings – including students – from using the bathroom that does not conform to their gender at birth.

Berger goes on to explain why he believes Charlotte's law was “problematic”

“Charlotte exceeded its constitutional authority by creating a separate public accommodations law that was at odds with existing statewide criminal law” and “raised serious safety concerns by requiring businesses to allow men and women to use the restroom or locker room they subjectively deem most consistent with their 'gender identity,'” Berger wrote.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, said in a blog post on the group's website that Berger is “desperately digging in even further” by “defending the indefensible.”

“Senator Berger is defending the indefensible. He knows HB2 is an unmitigated disaster that strikes at the basic rights and dignity of North Carolinians. In the face of so many business voices denouncing the bill and calling for its full repeal, Senator Berger is desperately digging in even further. He is lying about local laws and recycling dangerous myths about transgender people that have been soundly rejected by both the business community and fair-minded North Carolinians,” Griffin wrote.

Meanwhile, a bill introduced last week by Democrats that would repeal House Bill 2 has been refereed by Republicans to a committee that does not meet.