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Winston-Salem Recognizes LGBT Employees' Marriages Through New Policy

The City of Winston-Salem, North Carolina has announced a new policy to recognize the legal out-of-state marriage licenses of LGBT city employees and extend standard employee benefits to their families. Winston-Salem is believed to be the first municipality in North Carolina to take this step.

Read more from the Winston-Salem Journal.

“We applaud the City of Winston-Salem for taking the step to recognize all employees’ marriages as equal. We have been honored, through our Hometown Organizing Project, to work with a wonderful team of local advocates to make this policy change a reality. We also continue to advocate for the city to implement a short-term domestic partner benefits policy that addresses the disparity in benefits for couples who cannot afford to travel and get married in another state.” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of North Carolina-based Campaign for Southern Equality.

Read the Campaign for Southern Equality’s memo on why the proposed domestic partner benefits policy is also important, as we wait for marriage equality to be implemented in all 50 states.

The introduction of this policy was spearheaded by local advocates who testified before the city council’s Committee on Community Development, Housing and General Government last month. Council members were considering extending benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city employees, but that proposal has not yet moved forward.

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

Going the distance with CSE

Amy Evans is a playwright from North Carolina who lives in New York City and is an incredible champion of CSE’s work as an ally. On Sunday, she’s literally going the extra mile – 26.2 in fact! – by running the New York City Marathon to raise funds for CSE. Amy’s already raised more than $1,700 and is nearing her goal of $2,620. Pushing for full LGBT equality in the South is its own kind of marathon and we’re so inspired by folks like Amy who are stepping up.Here’s more from Amy about why she’s running. Join us in cheering her on! – Jasmine

Amy Evans

I got a really nice message from a friend who said that running a marathon is a brave thing to do. On my run this morning – an easy pace in Central Park, crisp blue sky, birds, squirrels, all that was missing was Bambi – itoccurred to me that there is nothing brave at all about marathoning. Vain, maybe. Self-indulgent by all means. But brave? About as brave as buying new lipstick.

Here’s brave: Walking into a county courthouse in the South with your life partner and requesting a marriage license, knowing the odds are stacked against you and that you’ll probably be denied. And then doing it again. And again. And again. That takes courage. But more than courage, it takes commitment, community, and a firm belief that we have the power to end injustice if we choose to. That’s what the Campaign for Southern Equality has been up to lately in the state of North Carolina. And at the same time they’re looking now for a local elected official in the South who openly shares the view that laws disenfranchising LGBT folks need to be stricken from . . . → Read More: Going the distance with CSE

Brenda and Carol

Brenda and Carol have spent 25 years together in a committed relationship and raised 2 kids. They seek the right to marry in their home state of North Carolina. On October 15 they will apply for a marriage license for the 4th time in Buncombe County as part of the WE DO Campaign.

Brenda and Carol remain hopeful about being granted a marriage license, saying “We are simply asking for the same rights that other straight couples in North Carolina enjoy. We are hopeful that Drew Reisinger, as the Buncombe County Register of Deeds, will consider approving our marriage license application in light of what has occurred in other states in regard to marriage equality.”

Please send Brenda and Carol a message of support here.

Two years ago this week, LGBT couples first applied for marriage licenses as part of the WE DO Campaign. You can watch couples call for rights in this video, including Brenda and Carol.

WATCH:

Scott and Ron

On October 9, 2013, Scott and Ron, residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, will request a marriage license at the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds’ office as the WE DO Campaign continues to grow across North Carolina.

You can send Scott and Ron a message of support here and read their letter to the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds below.

Scott and Ron

Dear Honorable David Granberry,

My partner Ron and I have been residents of Mecklenburg County for over 18 years and we consider Charlotte our home. We met here not long after we both moved here independently and have been in a committed relationship for over 16 of those 18 years. I am writing to you today to request that you grant us a marriage license to have our relationship recognized by the state of North Carolina. We plan to come to your office to make this request in person onWednesday, October 9th at 11:00 AM.

I am from Boston and Ron is from Quincy, Illinois. We both love living in Charlotte and we plan to spend the rest of our lives here. We could be legally married in Massachusetts, or have a civil union in Illinois, but our goal has always been to get married in North Carolina where we would be surrounded by our friends and family who know us and treat us as any other legally married couple they know. By all reasonable measures, this is how we should be treated.

. . . → Read More: Scott and Ron