Our push for full equality for LGBT individuals and families in the South is moving full speed ahead. With your support, 2013 has been a year of momentum – and results
. We’ve mobilized 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.
The country is listening. In November, Time Magazine listed North Carolina as a marriage equality battleground state because of the WE DO Campaign
. Putting the South on the map as winnable territory was one of our goals when we started our work two years ago. We will continue the fight against unjust and immoral laws like Amendment One.
Now, we need your help. Until midnight Tuesday, we’re competing in a national fundraising contest. If we finish strong, we can win up to $15,000 for our work in 2014. Can you make your year-end, tax-deductible gift to CSE right now?
We run a lean, nimble campaign and promise to stretch every dollar we raise to the max. Below are a few of our 2013 initiatives, all of them fueled by your support:
- During July, CSE offered FREE legal clinics in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi so that LGBT individuals could complete an Advanced Mississippi Health-Care Directive with the assistance of an attorney. In total our legal clinics this year resulted in 239 LGBT individuals’ completing Health Care Power of Attorney Forms (for free!) so that their medical choices will be respected in emergency situations.
(Bob and Jon create the first public record of a legally-married LGBT couple in Rowan County,N.C.by recording their California marriage license.)
- We ran a total of 24 WE DO actions across 7 Southern states in 2013! LGBT couples stood in their hometowns in places like Gulfport, MS, Brevard, N.C. and Morristown, TN, to say: we are fully human and fully equal
Read More Results
Amy Evans is a playwright from North Carolina who lives in New York City and is an incredible champion of CSE’s work as an ally. On Sunday, she’s literally going the extra mile – 26.2 in fact! – by running the New York City Marathon to raise funds for CSE. Amy’s already raised more than $1,700 and is nearing her goal of $2,620. Pushing for full LGBT equality in the South is its own kind of marathon and we’re so inspired by folks like Amy who are stepping up.Here’s more from Amy about why she’s running
. Join us in cheering her on!
I got a really nice message from a friend who said that running a marathon is a brave thing to do. On my run this morning – an easy pace in Central Park, crisp blue sky, birds, squirrels, all that was missing was Bambi – itoccurred to me that there is nothing brave at all about marathoning. Vain, maybe. Self-indulgent by all means. But brave? About as brave as buying new lipstick.
Here’s brave: Walking into a county courthouse in the South with your life partner and requesting a marriage license, knowing the odds are stacked against you and that you’ll probably be denied. And then doing it again. And again. And again. That takes courage. But more than courage, it takes commitment, community, and a firm belief that we have the power to end injustice if we choose to. That’s what the Campaign for Southern Equality has been up to lately in the state of North Carolina. And at the same time they’re looking now for a local elected official in the South who openly shares the view that laws disenfranchising LGBT folks need to be stricken from the books once and for all.
Now the best thing about the NY marathon is having half a million loudmouth strangers line the streets and cheer you on until they’re hoarse. Please be that loudmouth stranger now on behalf of the CSE. It’s not just about the money: it sends a message that you’re out there cheering these couples on from afar when they walk into those courthouses, and that does mean an awful lot. For those of you who would like to support CSE, but are too broke at the moment (I know how it is, trust me), please consider this:
2) OK, you really are too broke. So forward this donation link
to your friends and pester them to donate. Blackmail them; guilt-trip them; or just let them know that this effort means a lot to you, and you’d like to be a part of it. They’re your friends – they’ll understand. - Amy Evans, New York City
Today, couples across North Carolina (from Onslow County in the east to Haywood County in the west) are putting their love on the record as we keep growing the WE DO Campaign. Through our new statewide effort, legally-married LGBT couples are recording their marriage license as public documents in their home counties across NC as an act of protest against Amendment One.
Couples like Hilary and Emma are married in their hearts and in the eyes of the federal government. That’s a human reality that no one can deny, regardless of a discriminatory law like Amendment One. By going to the Buncombe County Register of Deeds and paying $26 to record their marriage license as a public document, Hilary and Emma created a record of their love and commitment. Their action also highlights how illogical and unjust Amendment One is.
If you are legally married same-sex couple and would like to register your marriage license to take a stand against Amendment One, click here. You can also support our work for equality by making a gift of $26 - the amount it cost Hilary and Emma to record their marriage license.
Read More Put your love on record
It’s been an incredible week.
(1) Here in Buncombe County, the WE DO Campaign took us one step closer to equality, as Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger began accepting marriage license applications from LGBT couples. Watch what happened at Tuesday’s WE DO action in this great video from the Asheville Citizen-Times.
(2) Mecklenburg County Commissioners voted to include gender identity in their employment discrimination policy, thanks to the hard work of local organizers and elected officials.
(3) Oregon has just announced that it will recognize the marriages of LGBT couples wed in other states.
(4) New Jersey is poised to legalize marriage equality starting on Monday.
What happened in Asheville this week demonstrates that the WE DO Campaign is working. We’re changing the public conversation about equality in the South and, through strong national media coverage, our country’s understanding about LGBT life here. In the past two months as we’ve led WE DO actions across NC, numerous state and local elected officials in Greensboro, Charlotte and Asheville have stood with us to call for LGBT equality. This is what happens when you show up again and again at marriage license counters across the South to say, we are equal and laws that deny that are simply wrong. As a supporter of CSE, you are making this happen and we are so grateful to be on this journey with you.
(Waiting for the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office to open on Tuesday morning.Photo credit: Laurie Johnson.)
The marriage license applications that have been accepted in Buncombe County now sit with the Attorney General’s Office, along with a formal request for an opinion on legal questions such as “what legitimate interest does the state of NC have in denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple?”
This moment highlights exactly why . . . → Read More: We’re winning
October 14, 2013
Buncombe County, NC Register of Deeds Seeks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples
Asheville, N.C. — A statement released Monday night from Drew Reisinger, the Buncombe County Register of Deeds, indicates that he is willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and will seek an opinion from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper regarding whether he can do so. Separately on Monday, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his support for marriage equality for the first time.
Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., same-sex couples will seek marriage licenses at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office as part of the WE DO Campaign, an initiative of the Campaign for Southern Equality. Through the WE DO Campaign, same-sex couples have requested marriage licenses at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office multiple times since 2011; to date, all couples have been denied licenses. In preparation for tomorrow’s event, Campaign for Southern Equality staff reached out to Mr. Reisinger to let him know local couples would again be applying; couples also sent him personal messages about why they are seeking legal recognition of their relationships.
“I will let each couple know that it is my hope to grant them a license, but I need to seek the North Carolina Attorney General’s approval,” Reisinger said in his statement. “I have concerns about whether we are violating people’s civil rights based on this summer’s Supreme Court decision.”
“There are neither moral nor legal grounds to justify Amendment One and it’s time for citizens and elected officials to act with conviction and urgency to change it. Mr. Reisinger’s actions are another step forward in the path to full equality for LGBT people,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Attorney General Cooper, . . . → Read More: MEDIA RELEASE: Buncombe County, NC Register of Deeds Seeks to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples