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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.

“I love this woman and this woman loves me. We will not stop coming here until we have equal rights,” said HP (in bow tie) to the . . . → Read More: On Heels of 4th Circuit Ruling, LGBT Couples Apply for Marriage Licenses in Greenville, South Carolina

Gay couple's courageous stand in Marion, North Carolina

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

Upcoming WE DO actions: July and August

We’re winning in the courts. We’re winning case after case, as we head back to the Supreme Court for a 50-state ruling on marriage equality. But now is not the time to sit by and wait for court rulings. It’s time to continue and broaden our call for rights by taking action in the public square.

The Campaign for Southern Equality is launching another round of WE DO actions this summer and fall in South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee!

The WE DO Campaign involves LGBT couples requesting marriage licenses in their hometowns across the South to call for full equality under federal law.

We are recruiting:

(1) Unmarried LGBT* couples who will request marriage licenses (training is required);

(2) LGBT* people and allies who will be part of the Support Team that stands with couples.

If you have any questions, contact our campaign manager Lindsey Simerly at lindsey@southernequality.org or 828.242.1559.

WATCH a WE DO Campaign action:

Marion, North Carolina WE DO action (July 22)

Keisha and Derica will apply for a marriage license at the McDowell County Register of Deeds’ office on July 22 and 11 a.m. In the days after they take action with the WE DO Campaign they will travel to Washington, D.C. to be legally wed, unless Amendment One is struck down by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals before then.

Louisville, Kentucky WE DO action (July 28)

Same-sex Kentucky couples will apply for marriage licenses at the Jefferson County Clerks office in Louisville. Couples will be joined by clergy, friends, family and supporters. They will then travel by bus to Metropolis, Illinois where same-sex marriage is legal. The couples will be married on the . . . → Read More: Upcoming WE DO actions: July and August

NC couples stand up to Amendment One on Valentine's Day

Two married same-sex couples from Buncombe County, North Carolina braved the snow today to record their legal marriage licenses at the Register of Deeds office as part of the WE DO Campaign.

Matt and Shannon have been together for 9 years and were married last fall in Matt’s home state of Minnesota.

Al and Rebecca were married in Connecticut on June 4, 2012. They celebrated with a sweet treat, because it’s Valentine’s Day.

By creating a public record of their love and commitment, these couples are highlighting the reality that the federal government recognizes their marriage while NC refuses to.

The WE DO Campaign will hit the road to Jackson, Mississippi on March 25th.

Definitive 2013 CSE Round Up

CSE’s year in video and images! Thank you for being with us every step of the way in 2013. None of this would be possible without your belief that LGBT people and allies in the South can help our country realize the promises of equality.

1) On January 2nd, five LGBT couples applied for marriage licenses in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as part of the WE DO Campaign. These brave couples took this act, knowing they would be denied licenses, as a show of love in the face of discriminatory laws that relegate LGBT to second-class citizen status in Mississippi. Below, Rolanda and Dawn at the counter applying for a license.

2) From January 2-17, CSE traveled across seven Southern states (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia) to stand with 37 LGBT couples as they applied for marriage licenses in their hometowns. Matt and Raymie on their farm in White Pine, Tennessee applied for a license in Hamlin County.

3) Tim and Mark were married on January 17th in Washington, D.C. after being together for 20 years. Just three days before, Tim and Mark were denied a marriage license in their hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C. as part of the WE DO Campaign.

. . . → Read More: Definitive 2013 CSE Round Up