Donate to CSE!

Online fundraising for Advocating for LGBT rights across the South

Connect with CSE

CSE FacebookFollow CSElive on Twitter

info@southernequality.org Phone: 828.242.1559
Snail mail: PO Box 364, Asheville, NC 28802

Report discrimination and violence

Click here to submit a report from anywhere in the US. The Progressive Project LGBT Civil Rights

Hearing set for November 12 in Mississippi marriage equality case

A hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction has been set in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, a federal challenge to Mississippi’s law banning same-sex marriage. At 9 a.m. on November 12, both sides in the case will gather in federal court in Jackson, Mississippi before U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves.

A schedule for briefings as set by the judge can be found here.

“By setting the schedule that it did, the Court clearly appreciated the need for expedition on issues of such great constitutional and practical import. We look forward to presenting our arguments to Judge Reeves on November 12. We are confident that, having read the briefs and heard our arguments, the Court will grant the relief that our clients seek – namely, the right to be treated like all other Mississippi families who love and care for each other, pay their taxes, and do their best to raise their kids,” says lead counsel Roberta Kaplan.

MS_graph2

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Plaintiffs are also represented by Mississippi attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson, Mississippi.

Kaplan was also lead counsel in United States v. Windsor, the landmark case that struck down sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in June 2013. The Windsor ruling resulted in the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages and paved the way for federal judges and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals to strike down state laws banning marriage from coast to coast.

“We are hopeful that the freedom to marry will soon become a reality for LGBT families all across Mississippi and that the harms of discrimination that have been felt by so many will soon cease,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples – Andrea Sanders and Rebecca Bickett, and Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb – and the Campaign for Southern Equality. Campaign for Southern Equality, et. al. v. Bryant, et. al. challenges the constitutionality of marriage laws in Mississippi that ban marriage between same-sex couples and deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state.

Same-sex couple denied marriage license in Tennessee

On Thursday morning, October 16, Raymie and his partner Matt walked into the Hamblen County County Courthouse and did what many Tennessee couples do when they’re in love: They asked for a marriage license.

“The only thing separating our family and having equality is a 45-minute drive across state lines,” Raymie explained to the Hamblen County Clerk. He was referring to North Carolina, which gained marriage equality last Friday.

But because they’re a gay couple, they were denied. Their state doesn’t recognize recognize their relationship – even though they’ve been together for nine years.

Matt and Raymie, who've been together for 9 years, applied for a marriage license for the second time in their hometown of Morristown, Tennessee.

Matt and Raymie, who’ve been together for 9 years, applied for a marriage license for the second time in their hometown of Morristown, Tennessee.

Less than a week ago, Matt and Raymie drove over to Asheville, North Carolina and celebrated with their friends after a federal judge struck down Amendment One and same-sex marriages began. They watched as clergy performed weddings on the steps of the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office, legally uniting dozens of couples.

Thursday was the second time they’ve asked their local clerk for a license, and they plan to keep going back until marriage equality comes to Tennessee. A ruling on the issue of marriage could be handed down from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals any day now, impacting Tennessee and neighboring states. Read More Same-sex couple denied marriage license in Tennessee

PHOTOS: North Carolina families are ready for equality

A ruling in favor of marriage equality in North Carolina is expected any moment. When it happens, it will impact the lives of thousands of LGBT families in the Tarheel State.

Check out who’s ready:

Mark and Tim are waiting in Winston-Salem

Mark and Tim are waiting in Winston-Salem

Watch what happened when they were denied a marriage license the first time and had to go all the way to D.C. to get legally married.

 

Amy and Lauren are waiting in Asheville

Amy and Lauren are waiting in Asheville

Kay and Ryn are ready in Waynesville

Kay and Ryn are ready in Waynesville

Scott and Joey are ready in Charlotte

Scott and Joey are ready in Charlotte

In fact, Joey and Scott are so ready that they’ve been camping out at their local Register of Deeds office, waiting for a marriage equality ruling to drop any minute.  

Trudy and Justine, plaintiff couples in a federal marriage equality case in NC, are ready in Raleigh.

Trudy and Justine, plaintiff couples in a federal marriage equality case in NC, are ready in Raleigh.

Amy and Diane are ready in Candler.

Amy and Diane are ready in Candler.

Tyler and Nils are ready in Asheville

Tyler and Nils are ready in Asheville

Jerry and Brent are ready in Winston-Salem.

Jerry and Brent are ready in Winston-Salem.

Jan and Beth are ready in Hendersonville.

Jan and Beth are ready in Hendersonville.

Keisha and Dare are ready in Marion.

Keisha and Dare are ready in Marion.

Dare told her local TV station why it was important that she and Keisha had the same legal protections as her friends and neighbors.

Mary and Carole are ready in Hendersonville. In fact, they've been ready for 41 years.

Mary and Carole are ready in Hendersonville. In fact, they’ve been ready for 41 years.

Cathy and Diane, partners of 15 years and plaintiffs in General Synod of the UCC v. Cooper, waited at their church in downtown Asheville all day on Thursday, October 9, in hopes that a federal judge would mandate marriage equality in North Carolina.

Cathy and Diane, partners of 15 years and plaintiffs in General Synod of the UCC v. Cooper, waited at their church in downtown Asheville all day on Thursday, October 9, in hopes that a federal judge would mandate marriage equality in North Carolina.

Janie and Alexis are ready in Asheville.

Janie and Alexis are ready in Asheville.

PHOTOS: North Carolina couples wait for marriage ruling

Since the Supreme Court rejected an appeal of a 4th Circuit ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia have all been preparing for the reality of marriage equality.

As of now, no one knows when Day One for marriage will be in North Carolina, but lots of cool things are happening in the meantime as couples, allies and officials get ready.

Couples have been camping out in counties across the state in hopes that a ruling will be issued any minute. Many couples have waited all day.

Tracey has been hanging out at the Guilford County Register of Deeds with her wife Cheryl.

Scott from Charlotte is filling out a marriage license application at the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds for himself and his partner Joey.

Cathy and Diane have been hanging out at the First Congregational UCC in Asheville all day long.

 

Some counties have been proactive in preparing for LGBT marriage applications.

Wake County, North Carolina has updated their online marriage application to be gender neutral.

 

And some parts of the state are having a hard time hiding their pride.

 

City Hall in Asheville got a makeover when someone draped it in a huge Pride flag.

Keep checking in with us on our Facebook page and Twitter as we keep you updated on marriage equality in North Carolina and throughout the South.

. . . → Read More: PHOTOS: North Carolina couples wait for marriage ruling

Statement from Attorney in UCC Lawsuit

Statement from Lead Counsel in Religious Freedom Challenge to Amendment One

“This threatened eleventh hour effort to intervene is strange, to say the least. The marriage equality litigation in North Carolina has been going on for many months and has, by all accounts, been handled in a sharply adversarial yet highly professional manner. There has been a definitive ruling by the Fourth Circuit on the virtually identical marriage laws in Virginia. As a result, we are close to the end of this litigation and ready to banish Amendment One to the dustpan of history. We believe this is an unnecessary use of taxpayer money and judicial resources and seeks only to delay the inevitable: marriage equality in North Carolina,” said Jacob Sussman, lead counsel for plaintiffs in General Synod of the United Church of Christ vs. Cooper and partner at Tin Fulton Walker & Owen.