Donate to CSE!

Online fundraising for Advocating for LGBT rights across the South

Connect with CSE

CSE FacebookFollow CSElive on Twitter 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

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.

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

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.

Early Voting Rally in Asheville on October 23

The Mountain People’s Assembly, the Asheville-Buncombe chapter of the NAACP and the Campaign for Southern Equality are hosting a non-partisan Early Voting rally on October 23, the first day of early voting.

“Moral March to the Polls” will take place in Pack Square Park, with voters gathering at the Vance Monument at 3:30 p.m. From 3:30 to 3:45 speakers will address the crowd about the importance of voting and discuss new voting restrictions in place for the 2014 elections. At 4 p.m., Buncombe County NAACP President Elder John Hayes and the Hillcrest High-Steppin’ Majorettes & Drum Corps will lead the march to the Board of Elections at 35 Woodfin Street.

RSVP for the rally on Facebook at:

Voter Registration How to in NC

The deadline for North Carolina residents to register to vote is October 10.

CSE provides legal services at Charlotte Pride


More than 100,000 people attended Charlotte Pride during the weekend of August 16 and 17 according to Q Notes.

(Photo from Q Notes)

The Campaign for Southern Equality along with the LGBTQ Law Center were proud to offer a chance to complete a Health Care Power of Attorney document at Charlotte Pride! More than 30 attorneys and notaries volunteered their time on Saturday to help us provide legal rights to LGBTQ people.

(Attorneys reviewing POA doc with individuals)

And we’re happy to report that 144 individuals completed a Health Care Power of Attorney document on Saturday at Charlotte Pride!

(Marie and Terry)

Marie and Terry, together for 30 years, were two of the people who completed a document. They now know that their medical choices will be respected during an emergency medical situation.

(Bishop Tonyia Rawls of the LGBTQ Law Center)

The goal of a Community Law Workshop is to empower LGBT people in the South to protect our rights to the full extent possible under current laws. With the support of volunteer attorneys we were able to provide LGBT Southerners with thousands of dollars worth of legal work at no cost.

(Swearing oath with the notary)

Don’t miss our upcoming Community Law Workshops:

Blue Ridge Pride (October 4, Asheville, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. Pride Winston-Salem (October 18, Winston-Salem, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. . . . → Read More: CSE provides legal services at Charlotte Pride

On Heels of 4th Circuit Ruling, LGBT Couples Apply for Marriage Licenses in Greenville, South Carolina

On Monday the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The same day South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he would continue to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Currently, South Carolina’s law remains intact,” said Mark Powell, a spokesman for S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson. “People should not rush to act or react until that time when a decision is made by the highest court in the land.”

Just two days later, five LGBT couples living in South Carolina went to the Probate Court in Greenville to apply for marriage licenses as part of the WE DO Campaign.

Supporters of the couples lined up around the block to walk to Probate Court with the couples.

North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia are all in the 4th Circuit and are now on the verge of marriage equality after Monday’s historic ruling.

This was Ivy and Misha’s third time applying for a marriage license in their home state of South Carolina. They do not want to travel out of state to be wed.

Ivy is a co-founder and the Program Director of Gender Benders, a grassroots social justice and support group working on trans* issues.

Supporters circled up outside Probate Court as clergy lead an interfaith blessing of the couples before they enter the building to apply for marriage licenses.

. . . → Read More: On Heels of 4th Circuit Ruling, LGBT Couples Apply for Marriage Licenses in Greenville, South Carolina