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Phone: 828.242.1559
Snail mail: PO Box 364, Asheville, NC 28802

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Candlelight Vigil in Asheville Calls for Marriage Equality in all 50 States

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Same-Sex Couples Have Constitutional Right to Marry

A community vigil calling for full LGBT equality will take place on April 27 at 5:30 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ located at 20 Oak Street in Asheville. Hosted by the Campaign for Southern Equality, the event will feature readings and music by community members. Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality will speak about the need for marriage equality in all 50 states.

Similar vigils will take place across the South as the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in four marriage equality cases on April 28th. The vigils are a call for equal protection under the law for LGBT individuals and families in the areas of employment, housing and marriage.

CSE is honored to be part of the national Unite for Marriage Coalition, in calling for full LGBT equality as the nation’s highest court hears these two landmark civil rights cases. Through this national coalition, vigils are being supported by the Campaign for Southern Equality in more than a dozen cities across the South.

 

“We have reached a critical moment in our nation’s history as the Supreme Court considers whether same-sex couples have a Constitutional right to marry. Here in the South, LGBT people experience the first-hand impact of discriminatory laws every day. We are hopeful that the Court will act to overturn the remaining bans on marriage equality and other discriminatory laws that impact that day-to-day lives of LGBT individuals and families,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

More information about the Asheville vigil can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1657743857782682/

 

 

 

CSE launches fund for Southern LGBT* organizers

We are excited to announce the launch of the Southern Equality Fund, which will provide direct financial support to grassroots LGBT* groups and leaders across the South. This new fund is designed to elevate LGBT* leadership in the South and support vital, grassroots efforts to achieve legal and lived equality across our region.

Incredible work is happening throughout the South, but too often our community faces the challenge of limited or no funding for these efforts – especially in small towns and rural areas.

Our first funding cycle will provide grants of up to $250 to four participants at the 2015 LGBT* in the South conference.

We’ve made the application process short and sweet – just answer three quick questions about your work! The deadline is 5 pm on Friday, April 17. We will announce recipients at the closing conference session on Saturday, April 18.

Apply today!

North Carolina Considers Similar Legislation to Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” Law

The N.C. Religious Freedom Restoration Act, legislation similar to Indiana’s so-called “religious freedom” law, has been introduced in both the North Carolina state House (HB 348) and state Senate (SB550). The legislation could allow for discrimination against LGBT individuals and other groups.

“I hope Governor McCrory and elected officials in North Carolina have learned that discrimination is bad for business and that they avoid making the same mistake as Indiana,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality and a minister in the United Church of Christ. “Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our country, but discrimination is not. These harmful bills are clearly based on animus and could open the door to discrimination against LGBT people and other groups of individuals. Religious freedoms are already protected by the Constitution and federal law.”

The full text of the bills can be read at:

(HB 348) http://ncleg.net/sessions/2015/Bills/House/PDF/h348v0.pdf

(SB 550) http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2015/Bills/Senate/PDF/S550v0.pdf

Taking action in Alabama 

Tomorrow Molly and April will walk into the Probate Judge’s office in Mobile County, Alabama and ask for a marriage license.

They should be served. But as of this morning, all 67 counties across Alabama are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

On Tuesday night, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered a halt to same-sex marriages in the state – a blatant expression of animus. Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry and one of the legal architects behind marriage equality, said of the ruling:

The Alabama Supreme Court has done a disservice to itself, not to mention a massive injustice to the people of Alabama, in allowing itself to be used to temporarily obstruct the freedom to marry and the enforcement of the constitution’s guarantees. This flouting of the Constitution and travesty of justice will not stand.

Molly and April have been together for 7 years. Their wedding is set for March 25, but because Alabama is violating federal law, they don’t know whether they will receive a marriage license in their home state.

Imagine what this would feel like – the uncertainty, the injustice, knowing that your home state is using its power to discriminate against you. In the face of all this, may the love and courage Molly and April be an inspiration to us all.

We know that ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve these issues for all 50 states. But, as many have said, justice delayed is justice denied. That’s why the Campaign for Southern Equality has organized tomorrow’s WE DO action in Mobile. We will go back to the counter again and again until we are served and treated as full, equal citizens.

Click here to send a message of support to Molly and April and thank them for . . . → Read More: Taking action in Alabama 

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.”