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
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
Dear CSE Supporter,
We’re off the road from Stage 4 and back in the office in Asheville, N.C.
It’s been an incredible start to 2013. First of all, I want to thank you for all you did during Stage 4 of WE DO – from taking action, to sending messages of support, to digging deep to help fund this work, to hosting our team in your homes and hometowns, to amplifying the story we’re telling to reach a national audience.
I am more hopeful now than I’ve ever been about what’s possible in the next few years when it comes to achieving full federal equality for LGBT people in all spheres of life – employment, housing, health care, family rights and relationship recognition. I also know it’s going to take all we’ve got to get there.
As you may have heard, President Obama mentioned Stonewall and specifically addressed marriage equality during his Second Inaugural Address. When I heard him say the words “our gay brothers and sisters,” images of the past few weeks flooded my mind. I thought about standing alongside LGBT friends in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South and North Carolina, and Virginia this past month, as we called for federal equality and dared to express our full equality and humanity in town squares across the South. I thought about marching with many of you from Virginia into D.C. this past Thursday on the final day of Stage 4. About how we crossed into our nation’s capital and, in that instant, became equal citizens under the law, a status that you feel in your bones and yet that dissolves as soon as you recross the border into the South.
I thought about Monty and Steve, and Sheila and Susan and the friends who stood with them in their hometown . . . → Read More: From Stonewall to the South