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The Campaign for Southern Equality rallied against SB 2681 with groups from across the state of Mississippi on the steps of the Capitol building in Jackson and called for LGBT rights.

Constance Gordon of the ACLU of Mississippi spoke to the crowd during the rally. “Mississippi is usually last for everything,” Gordon said. “We will not be the last to get equality. I will work hard for that.”
Constance at Capitol

(Constance Gordon of the ACLU of Mississippi speaking at a rally for LGBT rights at the Capitol building in Jackson.)

After the 2013 Supreme Court’s ruling declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, the federal government – and therefore the IRS – recognize same-sex marriages. But in every Southern state, married same-sex couples are required to file as “single.”

refusetolie

Mary Jamis and Starr Johnson are among the married same-sex couples in North Carolina who will jointly file their state taxes this year as part of the “Refuse to Lie” campaign; they are able to jointly file their federal taxes, which resulted in a $4,000 savings for the couple this year.

Mary said, “Starr and I are fortunate to live and work in a community surrounded by family and friends who acknowledge, support, and celebrate our relationship as a married couple. But the reality is that, due to Amendment One, we continue to be denied many of the basic rights and privileges that are afforded to opposite-sex married couples.”

Mary and Starr

(Mary Jamis and Starr Johnson)

Our 1st annual “LGBT* in the South” conference convened a network of more than 250 Southern organizers in Asheville, North Carolina. Read Q Notes coverage of the conference.

The conference explored best practices and shared strategies on how to increase the impact of LGBT advocacy in the South – from passing local equality ordinances to new HIV/AIDS advocacy strategies to pushing for marriage equality.

Shannon Minter keynote-resized

(Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights delivers the keynote address at the conference.)

The Campaign for Southern Equality marched with a broad, non-partisan coalition of groups to speak out for pubic schools, health care, immigrant rights and full LGBT equality at the Moral March in Raleigh, North Carolina.

People from all over NC and across the country joined the NC NAACP in marching for a fair and just North Carolina and yes that included LGBT rights!

Edited -JBF, Chris Sgro and Bishop Rawls

(Photo left to right: Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality, Chris Sgro of Equality NC and Bishop Tonyia Rawls of the Freedom Center for Social Justice.)

See more photos from the Moral March. 

The Campaign for Southern Equality mobilizes people all across the South – from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to the Piedmont of North Carolina – to stand up and tell our country a new story about the urgent need for full LGBT equality in all spheres of life – employment, housing, health care, family rights and marriage.