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In Newly-Filed Brief, Attorney Roberta Kaplan Says Arguments to Uphold Mississippi’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Have No Legal Merit

Attorneys for both sides in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant submitted briefs to the court last night in advance of the November 12th hearing in the case, a federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage. In the plaintiffs’ brief, a response to those filed by the defendants, lead counsel Roberta Kaplan stated:

“In seeking to defend the constitutionality of the Mississippi laws that exclude gay couples from civil marriage, Defendants do not offer a single argument that has not already been rejected—repeatedly—by federal courts across the country.”

The full memorandum, filed at 8:37 p.m. on November 10th, can be read at

The briefs filed Monday preview the arguments that attorneys will make at the November 12th hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction, as plaintiffs seek to have Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage overturned immediately due to the harms faced by same-sex couples each day the law remains in place. The hearing will take place before U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves in federal court in Jackson, Mississippi.

Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant 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. The lawsuit was filed last month on behalf of two same-sex couples – Andrea Sanders and Rebecca Bickett, and Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb – and the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Plaintiffs are also represented by Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson, Mississippi. Kaplan was lead counsel in United States v. Windsor, the landmark case that struck down sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and paved the way to marriage equality . . . → Read More: In Newly-Filed Brief, Attorney Roberta Kaplan Says Arguments to Uphold Mississippi’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Have No Legal Merit

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