Same-Sex Couples, Clergy and Elected Officials Call for Full Equality By Launching WE DO Campaign in Asheville, NC
Today, three same-sex couples requested – and were denied – marriage licenses in Asheville, NC to resist a current state law that prohibits marriage equality. The Campaign for Southern Equality’s WE DO Campaign will run from October 3 to 14, 2011 with over a dozen couples participating. In 2012, the WE DO Campaign will expand to other Southern communities, calling for full equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Asheville, NC – At 12 PM on October 3, 2011, Reverend Kathryn Cartledge and Elizabeth Eve, her partner of thirty years, requested a marriage license at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office in Asheville, NC. They were joined by two other couples – Autumn Trama and Amanda McKenzie, and Loraine Allen and Amanda Hilty – as well as a group of sixteen supporters including Representative Susan Fisher, Representative Patsy Keever, Asheville City Council Member Gordon Smith, Asheville City Council Member Brownie Newman, and Reverend Joe Hoffman.
Each of the three couples was denied a license because current North Carolina law forbids issuing a license to same-sex couples. They were prepared for this response, and will be back again to request a license on another day as part of the WE DO Campaign, which calls for full equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Organized by the Campaign for Southern Equality, the campaign involves over a dozen couples’ requesting licenses between October 3 and 14, 2011 in Asheville, NC.
“The issue here is that North Carolina laws do not treat people equally, even though we are all equal children of God. The couples taking part in the WE DO Campaign are doing so as an act of conscience, an act of faith, saying these laws are immoral and unjust and they must change,” says Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality and a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ.
The couples that were denied a license today are in loving, committed relationships and they seek what so many other couples do – the right to marry legally. Ms. Trama and Ms. McKenzie, who live in Asheville, have been together for six years and are engaged. Ms. Hilty and Ms. Allen have been in a relationship for over eleven years and had a private marriage ceremony years ago. According to Ms. Hilty, “Loraine and I have decided it’s time to step up. We will no longer sit idly by, afraid of the consequences. We are proud of who we are, as individuals, as a couple.”
On October 14, the final day of the campaign, Rev. Joe Hoffman and Rev. Cartledge will lead a public, interfaith blessing of all LGBT families at Roger McGuire Green, in front of the Buncombe County Courthouse. They will be joined by clergy from across faith traditions and from across the country. Following the blessing, clergy and community members will lead a large public action.