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North Carolina Senate passes discriminatory bill

Moments ago, the North Carolina Senate passed SB2 in a 32-16 vote. The bill allows magistrates and other officials to refuse to perform marriages based on their personal religious beliefs.

Read more about the bill and today’s vote here.

“This discriminatory bill treats gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens and distorts the true meaning of religious freedom,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Once again our legislature has demonstrated a willful disregard for the basic concept of treating all North Carolinians fairly. Like Amendment One, I believe this bill will not stand the test of time because it is rooted in animus.”

PHOTOS: Moral March in Raleigh

For the past few years, the Campaign for Southern Equality has been a part of a coalition led by the North Carolina NAACP that organizes protests in Raleigh – and across the state – pushing back on the extreme conservative agenda pushed by the legislature. The protests have captured the attention of the national media, and have served as a model for organizing in other states.

On Saturday, February 14, we joined thousands of our fellow North Carolinians in Raleigh for the annual Moral March, which began in 2007 under the visionary leadership of Rev. William Barber. We marched in solidarity to the state capitol, joined by people from across issues and across the political spectrum.

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At Moral March, we ran into supporters from Asheville and Durham. (Photo by Bill Boyarsky)

 

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North Carolina has enacted some of the strictest voting restrictions in the country, and voting rights have been central to the Moral Monday movement.

 

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Moral March participants heard from an array of faith and community leaders on issues ranging from education funding to Medicaid expansion.

 

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Alabama probate judges violating federal law

Marriage equality became the law of the land in Alabama yesterday and it was amazing to see couples marrying in towns including Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery. But a majority of counties across the state are still refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples. This morning, brave couples once again lined up in Mobile to seek licenses and were once again told that the marriage license office was closed for business.

The New York Times reported on this violation of federal law by Alabama probate judges:

“It was unclear how many of the judges were acting out of overt defiance and how many were simply weighing how to navigate a freshly jumbled legal landscape after Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” 

In response, legal teams have filed motions to ensure that couples can marry across the state. Probate judges in every Alabama county should immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s action on Monday. Alabama families can’t wait any longer for the freedom to marry and the legal protections they deserve. This is a simple matter of law, justice and dignity.

Marriage equality will prevail in Alabama. This is a critical moment in our push for equality in the South. What we’re seeing play out in Alabama right now speaks to a broader reality across the region. These tensions are exactly what LGBT people experience every single day in the South – the continued march toward federal legal equality, palpably growing support from our family and friends, and yet, still, the systematic denial of our dignity and humanity by state political leaders.

In the short-term, working alongside community leaders and partner groups, we won’t stop pushing until LGBT couples can marry in all 67 Alabama counties. For now, we’re asking you to do one thing. Please share this graphic via email or on Facebook to show your support for Alabama.

Alabama marriage

You can go directly to CSE’s Facebook page and share the graphic as well.

Statement on Alabama Probate Judges Violating Federal Law

“Probate judges in every Alabama county should immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with today’s action from the U.S. Supreme Court. Alabama families can’t wait any longer for the freedom to marry and the legal protections they deserve. This is a simple matter of law, justice and dignity,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

CSE Launches LGBT Rights Toolkit

The Campaign for Southern Equality has launched a new online LGBT Rights Toolkit (www.lgbtrightstoolkit.org) in order to address the urgent legal needs of LGBT Southerners. This online toolkit is designed to help LGBT Southerners – especially those in small towns and rural areas – understand and protect their rights.

The full report is available at: http://bit.ly/1zaDQxt.

The South is home to ⅓ of the national LGBT population and every LGBT person in the South lives as a second-class citizen in the most basic spheres of life and has unmet legal needs from employment to health care rights. This need is exacerbated by the reality that Southern states receive less than five percent of national funding from LGBT organizations.

“LGBT people in the South live with great dignity and courage and are often savvy navigators of the legals system, but the reality of discrimination persists and must be addressed,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

The hostile legal climate in the South means LGBT individuals and families must take extra steps to access the few basic legal protections available. This online toolkit is designed to help LGBT Southerners – especially those in the rural South – understand and protect their rights. The toolkit consists of Health Care Power of Attorney forms for every Southern state, LGBT-friendly attorney and physician lists, links to legal and mental health resources, and Name and Gender Change Guides. It also provides current information about changes in state and federal law against the backdrop of a rapidly-changing legal landscape.

“Properly executed legal documents, and access to accurate legal information are often the difference between being treated with dignity or disrespect. As an attorney working in the South to advance and protect the rights of LGBT people, I can’t . . . → Read More: CSE Launches LGBT Rights Toolkit