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
By Katie Watson
The energy outside the Supreme Court Tuesday morning was electric, and – ignoring possible frostbite – I was happy. I felt so fortunate to have tuned in to the Prop 8 case back in 2009, and to have assisted in the CSE-related brief at the district level, then attended the trial in San Francisco, and now seeing familiar faces in Washington D.C.
U.S. Supreme Court
The line wound its way in to the courthouse, but I missed the cut-off for sitting in the courtroom and found myself in the lawyers’ lounge instead. Those in the lounge were clearly rooting for the queer couples. The bell tolled, the room fell silent, and we all leaned forward to listen to the arguments.
I perked up when Ginsburg slapped down Yes-on-8’s reliance on a lousy case and nearly danced when Sotomayor cornered that advocate around why LGBT folks deserve legal protections. A high point was Kennedy’s cite to a brief concerning kids with LGBT parents – a group to which I belong – and the importance of our voices.
Next, Ted Olson performed his craft, poetically capturing the essence of the case, standing his ground against Scalia, deftly distinguishing polygamy from same sex marriage when questioned, and concluding powerfully that the history of our Constitution is to extend to protect people once ignored and excluded.
. . . → Read More: On the Scene with the Supremes
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
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.
Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed reports that the push is on for a executive order from President Obama requiring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees.
Led by the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Work and the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 50 organizations — from the AFL-CIO to the NAACP — sent a letter to Obama today asking him “to take an immediate step toward legal equality by signing [such] an executive order.”
In the letter, the organizations write, “Over the past 70 years, both Republican and Democratic presidents have used executive orders to ensure that taxpayer money is not wasted on workplace discrimination or harassment based on characteristics such as race, gender, and religion. These contractor policies exist to this day, and they cover almost one in four jobs throughout the United States. It is now time for an executive order ensuring the same workplace protections for LGBT Americans.”
37 Senators have signed on to a letter asking President Obama to issue the executive order.
This executive order would result in LGBT employees across the South gaining workplace protections. The Campaign for Southern Equality asks you to sign the petition.