On May 8, 2012 Amendment One passed in North Carolina, enshrining discrimination into the North Carolina Constitution. But the story didn’t end there.
The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) has never wavered in calling for full equality for all LGBT people. When Amendment One passed, we promised to continue our push for equality across North Carolina and the South.
Starting the next morning, on May 9th CSE raced across 10 town and cities in North Carolina and stood with LGBT couples and their supporters, saying “WE DO.”
In 2012 and 2013, more than 40 LGBT couples applied for marriage licenses as part of the WE DO Campaign in their hometowns across North Carolina. In Wilson, Durham, Winston-Salem, Asheville, Charlotte, Asheboro, Bakersville and Marshall, brave LGBT couples and their allies have stood up and said we are fully equal and called for full equality under the law.
In June, CSE staffers Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Lindsey Simerly were invited to the White House and met President Obama. (See Jasmine below.) They spoke with White House staffers about the urgent need that LGBT individuals and families have for legal protections in North Carolina and across the South.
In response to community requests, CSE’s legal team held a series of free “What Amendment One Means for You and Your Family” legal workshops across North Carolina. We went to Asheville, Charlotte, Asheboro, Winston-Salem and Durham. A huge thank you to attorneys Meghann Burke, Diane Walton, Bradley J. Weidemann, Connie Vetter and Sharon Thompson who generously donated their time in leading these workshops and answering questions about how Amendment One does – and doesn’t – impact people in N.C.
Then, thanks to more than 30 volunteer members of our legal team, CSE . . . → Read More: One Year Since Amendment 1: Fighting for LGBT Rights
Rob and Jens
Last week, WE DO couple Jens and Rob met with their Congressman, David Scott (D-GA), to talk about marriage equality. In 2004 and again in 2006 Rep. Scott voted for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Well guess what, Rep. Scott now publicly supports marriage equality thanks in part to Jens and Rob! You can read the details of their interaction with Rep. Scott at the Joe My God blog.
Two days ago JMG reader Rob sent me this note: “Dear Joe, My partner & I met with our congressman, Rep.David Scott, yesterday and he told us that he completely supports marriage equality. He stated that he was a guest at Barney Frank’s wedding. He said that he would be willing to look at the Respect for Marriage Act as a co-sponsor if it is reintroduced in this Congress.”
Rep. Scott joins a growing list of Democrats who have switched their position on equality issues during the first half of 2013.
During January of 2013, Jens and Rob were one of 35 couples to apply for a marriage license as part of the WE DO Campaign.
Ivy and Misha live in Piedmont, S.C. and are engaged to be married. The strength they exhibited as they applied for a marriage license says it all: love will free us and love will win.
Please watch this video and then share it broadly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbXRZor7nRE
What follows is Ivy and Misha is their own words:
Our story is one filled with passion and purpose, passion for each other, and passion for equality. We have been together for almost 2 years now, and Misha is the love of my life. We recently got engaged, and we plan to get married. We would both love to hear those words ‘by the power invested in me, by the state of South Carolina…’ We love the south, this is our home and we want to stay here. Our friends, our family and our businesses are here. We don’t want to have to move to have our marriage be legally recognized. It was our shared passion for equality that brought us together in the first place. So, when we heard that the WE DO Campaign was coming to Greenville we had to get involved! That may be the second best decision I’ve ever made. Saying yes to speak on the panel where I met Misha being the first.
. . . → Read More: Ivy and Misha stand up for marriage equality in South Carolina
Pastor Ra’Shawn & Kelvin Barlow-Flournoy
Ra’Shawn and Kelvin
Pastor Ra’Shawn met Pastor Kelvin at Holy Convocation in Atlanta, Georgia. The mention if they were meant for one another was never a question. From day one they became the best of friends through conversation and getting to know one another’s hopes and dreams for life. With Pastor Ra’Shawn living in South Carolina and Pastor Kelvin living in Atlanta at the time the relationship went through several transitions before the final commitment to court one another. Pastor Kelvin being a firm believer that all things work together for the good of those that is called by purpose; an agreement was established to move forward with the relationship. After courting one another for several months about the vision to be laid for their live’s collectively; Pastor Kelvin asked for Pastor Ra’Shawn’s hand in marriage. May 22, 2011 an emotional and fun filled celebration of two lives becoming one Pastor Kelvin met his husband Pastor Ra’Shawn at the alter where Reverend Aaron Jones-Wade officiated a beautiful ceremony at the Community Church of Washington D.C.
The two are firm believers of marriage equality and have advocated and lobbied for equal rights and not special rights. Collaborating with the Campaign for Southern Equality has truly become an inspiration to fight for the rights of LGBT Southerner’s; they were proud to take a stand on legal matters that affect LGBT people in the south. With the stated belief that marriage is between a man and a women, Pastors Ra’Shawn and Kevin Barlow-Flournoy stand firm on the political playing field for LGBT issues.
Please don’t judge us and we won’t judge you, please just love us and we will love you; but if you love us, let it be beautiful!
. . . → Read More: Ra’Shawn and Kelvin
During the month of January, 35 LGBT couples from across Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee have stood up for marriage equality in their home states as part of the WE DO Campaign. You can read the story of one the couples below as told by Brent Morin.
Jerry and Brent Morin
Jerry and I have been together almost 10 years. We met 11 months after losing my wife to a terminal illness in early 2003. It was just before the holidays and sure to be hard without my wife who had been with me every Christmas for the previous nine years. You see I don’t do alone well, never have – I am a twin and have always had someone right by my side from birth. There is my twin (Corey), my wife (Heather) that I met as a freshman in college and now Jerry. That year I became a widower, discovered my authentic self – came out to friends and family, and met the second love of my life. However, I still had trouble reconciling my sexuality with my upbringing; but Jerry changed all of that. As I fell in love with Jerry I was fascinated by how similar he was to Heather. To describe Jerry is to describe Heather – humble, quiet, loyal, sarcastic, hardworking, stubborn, animal loving, French-Canadians from New England. I quickly realized that my love for Jerry was no different than my love for Heather. Only then did I truly accept myself as a gay man. While there is certainly physical attraction, true love is much deeper and this was the type of person that I was drawn to. Love is Love!
Brent and Jerry
A few of the things I love about Jerry… I . . . → Read More: Brent and Jerry