What we’re up to …

 North Carolina LGBT Rural Summit on June 3rd

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Campaign for Southern Equality, National Center for Lesbian Rights and True Colors Fund invites you to a day of conversation and information sharing around LGBT people, families, youth and communities.

On Friday June 3rd, the National LGBT Rural Summit Series will take place in Asheville, NC. We invite you to not only join us but to also add your voice to the discussion as we talk about what life is like for LGBT people in Southern and rural American communities while also sharing information about programs and services that exist to strengthen our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

From housing, education, healthcare, youth empowerment, and more, there will be something for everyone, and we welcome and need your voice and perspective to ensure success and change.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration begins at 11 AM and lunch will be served. We hope you will spread the word and plan to join us!

Schedule TBA. For questions contact: (202) 720-3808 or LGBTRuralSummit@ascr.usda.gov

Join our team!

CSE is hiring a Community Organizer/Tzedek Social Justice Fellow! We’re proud to participate as a host organization in the Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship program, which places young professionals in a one-year, full-time fellowship at a social justice organization in the Asheville area.

You will join CSE’s team in running a fast-paced, nimble campaign to promote full LGBT equality across the South. The fellowship will also involve significant learning and professional development opportunities as part of the Tzedek Fellowship program. CSE and the Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship Program are working to increase the racial/ethnic diversity of the LGBT movement. Candidates of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more and apply here.

5e21186c-dbad-45e9-aa4c-5c78f3dca4c8 (1)

 

Challenging Mississippi’s HB 1523 in Federal Court

We have filed a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the provision of HB 1523 that allows Mississippi officials to seek to “recuse” themselves from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples based on certain “sincerely held” religious beliefs. Read more here

As long as the state of Mississippi continues to pass discriminatory laws that are clearly based on anti-LGBT animus, we will continue to seek recourse in the federal courts.” – CSE Executive Director, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.

Check out the court documents and read the Buzzfeed write-up announcing the lawsuit.

1523Lawsuit

Fighting back against HB2

This law is a blatant attack on the LGBT community – and it’s one of the worst anti-LGBT laws on the books in the country.

Check out this powerful op-ed from Ivy Gibson-Hill in the Mountain Xpress:

“Yes, these can be complex concepts. Yes, you’ll fumble over pronouns and make mistakes. Yes, it’s not always going to be comfortable. But we have a responsibility as a community to show up for each other and to speak up when someone is in danger.”

IStand3

Jen Jones on absolute fire with this op-ed piece on HB2 in the Raleigh News & Observer:

“Until we have full equality, we are all members of this teaching generation – bound by an obligation to bring others along so that they might know: ‘We are not victims. We have voices. We are not nothing. We are North Carolina.’”

All Gender Restroom Signs to Asheville Businesses

The Campaign for Southern Equality is partnering with Tranzmission to provide All-Gender Restroom signs to Asheville businesses, non-profits and faith communities that would like to show support for the LGB, and especially, the Transgender community.

all-gender-restroom-braille-sign-se-6056_210

Thank you to the growing number of businesses and organizations in Asheville that have already pro-actively taken this step. Want a sign? Just email Ivy Hill (ivy[at]southernequality.org) with your name, organization/business name, phone number and organization/business address.Southern Equality FundWe’re seeing a number of innovative and self-organized responses to HB2 across North Carolina. The Campaign for Southern Equality is offering a round of grants of up to $250 each to NC-based groups and organizations to support projects that:

  • Provide direct support to LGBT* community members who are impacted by or potentially could be impacted by HB2.
  • Organize initiatives to oppose HB2.
  • Keep people informed, offer support and organize during this critical time.

Click here to apply online. (You do not need to be a non-profit to apply.)

We will be accepting and reviewing applications on an ongoing basis as funds permit. Please contact 828.242.1559 or info@southernequality.org with any questions. 

Thousands Call for #RepealHB2 as General Assembly Session Begins

“We are using the tools available to us in democracy — petitions, lobbying, public protests, civil disobedience — to say this law is wrong at its core, and it must be immediately repealed,” said the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Ms. Beach-Ferrara said critics, many holding signs saying “My faith doesn’t discriminate” and “Governor McCrory, we’ll see you in court,” were committing to “a season of resistance until this law is struck down.”

Western North Carolina Trans Support Line

North Carolina feels like a scary place for trans and LGB folks right now. We want to be sure everybody can easily access the resources they need in this time. That’s why we’re launching the Western North Carolina Trans Support Line. We’re offering help locating local support groups, mental health resources, attorneys, community events, trans health information, and peer counseling.

WNC Trans Support Hotline

Call (828) 237-1323 if you need support or help finding local trans friendly resources.

We are working to beat HB2, but more importantly we want to send a clear message to trans North Carolinians: you are not alone, and we have your back.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Mississippi’s Ban on Same-Sex Adoption

BREAKING NEWS: Same-sex adoption ban in Mississippi has been struck down in federal court! This means that same-sex couples finally have the right to adopt in Mississippi.

VictoryAdoptionCase

The ban on adoption by gay and lesbian couples in Mississippi—the last state to explicitly ban such adoptions—was held to be unconstitutional by Judge Jordan of the federal district court in Mississippi. In his ruling, Judge Jordan explicitly stated that the Mississippi law banning adoption by gay couples “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.”

Read the full ruling here.

Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued U.S. v. Windsor before the Supreme Court, is the lead attorney on the case.

Legal Challenge Filed Against SB2, North Carolina “Magistrate Recusal” Law

Six plaintiffs have filed a federal lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 2, the North Carolina law passed in defiance of federal court orders that struck down Amendment One and declared that marriage is a fundamental right for gay and lesbian citizens.

Senate Bill 2 allows magistrates who do not believe in marriage equality to renounce their judicial oath to uphold and evenly apply the United States Constitution. The plaintiffs are represented by Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, a Charlotte-based law firm that led the legal challenge that struck down Amendment One, and by Meghann Burke, of Asheville-based firm Brazil & Burke.

LukeLargessQuoteFB

The Campaign for Southern Equality, along with Equality NC, is coordinating the public education campaign accompanying the case.

“This law distorts the true meaning of religious freedom. From the day it was proposed, it was clear that SB2 is about one thing and one thing only – finding a new way to discriminate against same-sex couples. We will keep standing up to discrimination until LGBT people are equal in every sphere of life,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the Campaign for Southern Equality is a non-profit organization that advocates for the full equality of LGBT individuals and families across the South.