It has been dubbed “the transgender bathroom bill.” But a married lesbian couple in North Carolina say a controversial new law there has already had more far-reaching consequences than that moniker suggests.

Kelly Trent and Beverly Newell allege in a new legal complaint that the law has given cover to a Charlotte-based fertility clinic to deny them in-vitro fertilization services. The clinic, Advanced Reproductive Concepts, told the couple on April 1 – the day the law took effect – that it was not accepting new same-sex clients, according to the complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, a law firm that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

“The bill has been described as a bathroom bill, but the whole issue is just a Trojan horse or a smokescreen for discrimination,” Trent, 39, a registered nurse, said in an interview. “We’re all paying for this bill one way or another.”

The complaint marks an expansion of a suit the groups filed against North Carolina in the wake of HB2, a law that among other things bars local governments from passing LGBT civil rights protections and requires students and others to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity. The law, which was introduced, passed and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) over the course of a single day, has provoked an outcry from celebrities, sports teams, corporations and activists, who say it legalizes discrimination against LGBT people.

Transgender people, they say, have for years quietly been using the facilities where they best belong without incident.

HB2’s most ardent supporters, including McCrory, however, argue that the law has been misrepresented. They say it is meant to rein in government overreach at the local level, and to protect basic social mores and privacy standards by preventing “biological males” from entering women’s restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms in schools and other government buildings. In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, McCrory contended that it was liberals in Charlotte who picked this fight by enacting a civil rights ordinance that protected transgender people in public accommodations and that the state was compelled to act.

“I don’t think government should be telling the private sector what their restroom and shower law should be, to allow a man into a woman’s restroom or shower facility at a YMCA, for example,” he told host Chuck Todd, adding that is up to the individual private organization to set its own policy. “But I do believe in our high schools, in our middle schools, in our universities, we should continue to have the tradition that we’ve been having in our country for years. We have a women’s facility and a men’s facility. You know, it’s worked out pretty well, and I don’t think we should have any further government interference.”

Advocacy groups filed suit over the law almost immediately on behalf of two transgender people and a gay woman, claiming that HB2 essentially writes discrimination into the state code. On Thursday, they amended the suit to add Trent and Newell, as well as a transgender high school student, as plaintiffs.

Officials at Advanced Reproductive Concepts did not return phone calls from The Washington Post. In a statement to NBC Charlotte earlier this month, the clinic said its decision to turn away the couple had nothing to do with sexual orientation and called the couple’s claims “false and untruthful,” according to the network. The statement said that Advanced Reproductive Concepts is not accepting new sperm donor cases for any couples regardless of sexual orientation and that the clinic specializes in in-vitro fertilization cases that do not involve the use of third-party donors, the network reported.

But Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney with the ACLU, said the only reason not to allow third-party donors would be to exclude lesbian couples.

The clinic is not named as a defendant in the suit. The groups are suing state officials, arguing that were it not for HB2, Trent and Newell could have complained under Charlotte’s now-overturned civil rights ordinance. And they contend that the law emboldens businesses to discriminate against gays.

That is how Trent and Newell interpreted the call they received from the clinic. The couple, married in December 2014, said they had always planned to start a family this year with the help of a sperm donor. After looking at a number of clinics in the area, the two approached Advanced Reproductive Concepts on the recommendation of a heterosexual friend who had used its services. The response flabbergasted them.

“I was in shock,” said Newell, 45. “I couldn’t believe what had just happened. We’re talking about a medical procedure.”

Despite the couple’s difficulties, Gill said the greater harm from the law falls on transgender people, who are now forced to make a decision: use a facility that does not match their gender identity or risk running afoul of state law.

“The law has these broader effects, but we really see the primary effect and the harmful impact as of right now being greatly borne by the most vulnerable members of our community,” she said.