On October 2, 2013, Mary and Carol, residents of Henderson County, North Carolina, will request a marriage license at the Henderson County Register of Deeds’ office as the WE DO Campaign continues to grow across North Carolina. You can read about their life together below as told by Mary:
In 1974, Mary and Carole made a life-long commitment to be there for each other. We each had four children from our previous marriages. In 1974 their ages were 18 to 9. The 1970’s were difficult. We sent more than one psychologist around the world as we went through the process of learning how to cope with angry and confused children and our own homophobia.
As the years passed, our children grew up, got married and gave us 13 grandchildren. Through those years, love won out and today our relationship is celebrated by all. In 2014, we will celebrate our 40th anniversary and our 80th birthdays.
We are excited about having a small part in the “WE DO” campaign in Hendersonville, NC. Never did we dream that in our lifetime marriage of gay people would be discussed or a possibility. After hiding out for many years, we are proud to now stand up for what is fundamentally just and constitutionally right. We believe strongly that all peoples, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to stand before a judge and say “I do” and in so doing receive the same rights and privileges that married people have both federally and in their states.
Our children and grandchildren, as well as our friends, are thrilled that we are taking this step to speak out for justice. Unfortunately, our children all live a distance. However, one of them is driving to be with us and walk by our side when we apply for a . . . → Read More: Mary and Carol
On Monday, September 16th local same-sex couples will seek marriage licenses at the Guilford County Register of Deeds Office as the WE DO Campaign grows across North Carolina. “We want the same protections and benefits that are afforded opposite-gender couples who marry in the State of North Carolina,” says Cheryl Bridges, who will apply for a license with Tracey Bridges, her partner of twelve years. The couples will be joined by elected officials, friends and clergy who will lead a public prayer service before entering the Register of Deeds office.
“As a descendant of the civil rights movement, I am committed with my friends at the WE DO Campaign to ensuring that we have equal opportunity and equal access for every single citizen in this state,” says State Representative Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), who will stand with the couples on Monday. “The fundamental rights that are denied to same-sex couples defy the foundation of liberty upon which this country was founded. This fight is more about dignity than anything else, and we will always fight for our dignity.”
Monday’s action in Guilford County expands the WE DO Campaign, an initiative of the Campaign for Southern Equality that has involved more than 80 lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) couples requesting marriage licenses in their hometowns across the South during the past two years. During August, LGBT couples in Madison and Forsyth Counties participated in the campaign. LGBT couples will apply for marriage licenses in their hometowns on the following dates:
September 16: Guilford County September 26: Burke County October 2: Henderson County October 9: Mecklenburg County October 15: Buncombe County November 1: Transylvania County November 4: Cabarrus County
. . . → Read More: LGBT Couples Across N.C. Take Public Actions Against Amendment One
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