The Campaign for Southern Equality is very happy to announce a big victory for LGBT rights in Buncombe County, North Carolina!
LGBT employees of Buncombe County, North Carolina will now be offered domestic partner benefits. These benefits include health insurance, life insurance, use of leave time, and all entitlements under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Buncombe County becomes the 4th county in North Carolina to offer domestic partner benefits to LGBT couples, joining Durham, Mecklenburg and Orange counties.
Commissioner Holly Jones and Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality
The Campaign for Southern Equality’s executive director, Rev. Beach-Ferrara, spoke in favor of the policies at the March 19th meeting. She based her remarks on the “Policy Recommendations for the Fair and Equitable Treatment of Buncombe County LGBT Employees,” white paper that CSE published in August 2012 and subsequently shared with county staff and county commissioners. You can read the white paper at: http://www.southernequality.org/wp- content/uploads/2013/03/LGBT-Employment-Policies_August2012.pdf
The Campaign for Southern Equality was proud to work closely with Commissioner Holly Jones to pass these policies. Thank you to Commissioners Frost, Chairman Gantt, Jones and Newman for supporting domestic partner benefits.
As we travel around the South, we meet some amazing people taking action in their daily lives and in their hometowns in order to call for full LGBT equality.
Cameron’s letters to the Supreme Court
Cameron, a 6th grader in North Carolina, is one of those courageous individuals. She recently decided to write a letter to each Supreme Court Justice about why equality matters to her and her family. As you may know, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the ”Prop 8″ and “DOMA” cases on March 26th and 27th. These two landmark cases ask the court to recognize the full equality of LGBT people and families in all 50 states and to strike down discriminatory laws.
Here’s the letter Cameron sent to each Justice.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Supreme Court of the United States One First Street N.E. Washington, DC 20543
My name is Cameron. I am eleven years old and I am currently in the 6th grade [in North Carolina]. I am the daughter of Susan and Sheila. I watched President Obama’s inauguration speech today and my parents pointed you out to me. They informed me that although President Obama is leading the fight for my parents to be treated equally, you and the other justices will be making very important decisions in the next few months. I know you are busy, but I hope you have time to read this letter.
My parents have been together for 26 years. They took me to New York on their 25th anniversary so that they could be legally married. I was so happy for them. They are the best parents a kid could ask for and I love them so much. I would like to see their marriage recognized here in our home state. Please look at . . . → Read More: Cameron’s Story: Dear Justice Sotomayor
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
On January 4th in Mobile, Alabama LGBT couples took a stand for marriage equality in their home state.
You can see video of the Alabama couples here:
A protest in support of same-sex marriage took place Friday afternoon at Mobile Probate Court.
Two same sex couples that were already married in other states tried to get their licenses recognized in Alabama, even though they knew they would be told no.
The state doesn’t recognize or perform same-sex marriage, a frustration for these couples.
On January 2nd, five LGBT couples requested marriage licenses in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as part of the WE Campaign. Watch their story: