Keisha and Dericka knew that when they went to the McDowell County Register of Deeds’ Office this morning to request a marriage license as part of the WE DO Campaign, they would almost certainly be denied. What they didn’t expect, however, was that 150 counter-protestors would hold a rally on the courthouse lawn.
WE DO participants pray in front of the McDowell County Courthouse, where hundreds of anti-gay protestors had gathered.
With the sounds of condemnation in the background, the couple received a blessing from their minister, Rev. Christy Corna, who will officiate their wedding ceremony in September. They then proceeded to the Register of Deeds Office, hand-in-hand, followed by friends and supporters.
“This is what courage looks like–for Keisha and Dericka and their friends to stand up publicly for equality when there is so much pressure to stay silent, when you are outnumbered by those who are protesting you,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara leads the group of WE DO participants in prayer.
As they stood at the counter, Keisha and Dare held their heads high and stated their intentions to the clerk. They handed their drivers’ licenses to the clerk, who examined them and stated that they were ineligible for a marriage license because they are a same-sex couple. Keisha and Dare explained that they want their family to be recognized by the state of North Carolina and by their hometown of Marion. The clerk refused to accept their application or to write “DENIED” on it.
Keisha (left) and Dericka attempt to submit their application for a marriage license in McDowell County, North Carolina.
As they left the office and stepped back outside, the . . . → Read More: Gay couple’s courageous stand in Marion, North Carolina
Tuesday, July 17 from 6:30 to 8:45 pm: Screening of God Loves Uganda
A hard-hitting documentary exposing the role of American evangelism in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn toward the death penalty for gays. This event is co-sponsored by Land of the Sky UCC. Please note this film includes disturbing content and is intended for adult audiences. Child care will be provided. Facilitated discussion of the film to follow.
RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/423296547807487/
Location: Kenilworth Presbyterian Church, 123 Kenilworth Road, Asheville, N.C. 28803
Wednesday, July 18 from 4 to 6:30 pm: How to use Facebook and Twitter to Increase your Impact
Social media plays an increasingly large role in economic and social justice movements. This workshop, presented by Aaron Sarver of the Campaign for Southern Equality, will teach you how to leverage the power of Facebook and Twitter to communicate your message effectively and inspire your supporters to take action.
After the social media training we’re holding a Smart Phone Workshop. Your phone can help you to: expedite and/or confirm a voter’s registration, access social media, do research and more.
Location: United Way of Asheville | 50 S French Broad Avenue, Asheville, N.C. 28801
Saturday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 pm: Community Law Workshop at Salisbury Pride
The Campaign for Southern Equality will offer free health care power of attorney clinics at Pride celebrations across North Carolina this summer with the Freedom Center for Social Justice’s LGBTQ Law Center in order to serve the LGBT community in North Carolina.
“The Campaign for Southern Equality is excited to offer this service free of charge at PRIDE events across North Carolina this summer and to partner with the LGBTQ Center. No LGBT person should be without a Health Care Power . . . → Read More: Campaign for Southern Equality events in June
AG’s office defends ban on same-sex marriage despite rulings from 15 federal courts that such bans are unconstitutional
Today the North Carolina Attorney General’s office formally responded to the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in General Synod of the United Church of Christ vs. Cooper, a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s marriage laws. Plaintiffs in the case requested swift action from the Court due to the immediate and irreparable harms that discriminatory marriage laws inflict upon same-sex couples and clergy every day that these laws remain in effect.
However, in today’s filing the Attorney General’s office argued that the preliminary injunction should be denied, and that the State’s interest in following the law as written outweighs the Plaintiffs’ interest in obtaining immediate relief from these discriminatory laws. The Court could rule on the preliminary injunction in the coming weeks.
“The State fails to acknowledge the harm suffered by the plaintiff couples — a harm recognized by every court that has considered the issue since Windsor. We are sorely disappointed that the State of North Carolina continues to deny equal rights to all of its citizens. Fifteen federal courts in recent months have made clear – emphatically and unequivocally – that it is unconstitutional for state governments to discriminate against loving and committed couples who want the benefits and security that marriage provides,” said Jacob Sussman, an attorney at Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, and lead counsel in the case.
Plaintiffs, Carol Taylor and Betty Mack, a same-sex couple who seek to marry in their church have been in a committed relationship since 1973. They both attend the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville and have a close relationship with their pastor, Reverend Mark Ward, who is also a plaintiff in the . . . → Read More: Attorney General’s office responds to Amendment One lawsuit
Alliance of Baptists, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and clergy seek to marry same-sex couples, citing 1st Amendment freedoms
Asheville, N.C. (June 3, 2014) – National religious denominations including the Alliance of Baptists and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, as well as local clergy from All Souls Episcopal Cathedral in Asheville, N.C. and Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue in have been added as plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina’s marriage laws, General Synod of the United Church of Christ vs. Cooper. Attorneys will file documents today in federal district court to formally amend the complaint.
On April 28th General Synod of the United Church of Christ vs. Cooper was filed in the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of the United Church of Christ (UCC) as a national denomination, clergy from across faith traditions, and same-sex couples. The case challenges the constitutionality of marriage laws in North Carolina – including Amendment One – that ban marriage between same-sex couples and make it illegal for clergy to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples within their congregations. This case opens a new front in marriage equality litigation: it is the only case to bring 1st Amendment religious freedom claims among the more than 70 marriage equality cases pending in courts nationally.
The addition of new plaintiffs to the case reflects growing support for marriage equality across faith traditions in the United States. The plaintiffs are represented by the law firms of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen and Arnold & Porter LLP.
“The Alliance of Baptists has always had a strong commitment to religious liberty. And in my opinion, religious liberty is at the heart of the marriage equality debate. A religious majority is passing and/or . . . → Read More: More national denominations join Amendment One lawsuit, seeking religious freedom
During 2014, the Campaign for Southern Equality will offer at least 12 free Community Law Workshops (CLW). The goal of a CLW is to empower LGBT people in the South to protect our rights to the full extent possible under current laws.
CLWs take two forms: (1) community education sessions led by attorneys about special topics in LGBT law, such as name changes and family rights; and (2) legal clinics at which volunteer attorneys provide pro bono services. We are proud to collaborate with community partners and law firms to provide these free workshops.
Starting in June 2014, CSE is also excited to launch a partnership with the Freedom Center for Social Justice’s LGBTQ Law Center to jointly provide free health care power of attorney clinics at Pride celebrations across North Carolina.
Salisbury Pride (June 21, Salisbury, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. Rebirth Church (July 12, Charlotte, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney. Gender Benders Summer Camp (July 18, Piedmont, SC); Name change & Health Care Power of Attorney offered Charlotte Black Gay Pride (July 19, Charlotte, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered. Charlotte Pride (August 16, Charlotte, NC); Health Care Power of Attorney offered with LGBTQ Law Center. 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.
(Attorney Diane Walton leads a CLW in Gulfport, Mississippi.)
2014 Completed Community Law Workshops
Topic: Stand up for Equality When You File Your NC Taxes (February 5, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
Led by: Todd Greene, CPA of Brader Greene
Location: First Congregational UCC | 20 Oak Street, Asheville, NC, . . . → Read More: Summer Schedule of Community Law Workshops