Through the WE DO Campaign, LGBT couples across the South request marriage licenses in their hometowns and call for full equality under the law.
WE DO actions tell a story about what it is to be LGBT in the South, as we express our fundamental equality and humanity in the public square. These actions reveal the impact of discriminatory laws, and illustrate what it looks like when LGBT people are treated as second-class citizens. Read more about the WE DO Campaign from USA Today.
For Monty Garrish and Steve Myszak, a couple who live in Wilson, North Carolina, participating in WE DO meant holding hands in their hometown for the first time in their 18-year relationship.
Many people ask us why we take these actions across the South, where LGBT rights are often considered unwinnable in the short-term. We believe that LGBT people and allies in the South have a crucial role to play in building public support for LGBT equality – by telling our stories, by shining a light on the harms of discriminatory state laws, and by advocating for federal equality.
LGBT people live in every town in the South, and yet we are often invisible. We are told that we should wait an undetermined period of time to be equal citizens, or that we should move if we want to be treated equally. But telling LGBT people that in order to have equal rights, they must leave their homes, their families and friends, the place they love, is not something we accept. For those that must leave for reasons of safety, employment, housing – any reason – we will keep working until the South no longer treats LGBT people as second-class citizens.
A new phase of the WE DO Campaign is underway. We’re seeking a local elected official in the South who will grant a marriage license to a LGBT couple. Across the South, couples are writing to their local marriage license office to pose this question. Read this op-ed in the Advocate by Rev. Beach-Ferrara that explains our new strategy.
Simultaneously, legally married LGBT couples in North Carolina are recording their marriage licenses to create a public record of their love and commitment (learn more here). To get involved, please fill out this form.
The Associated Press reported: ”An official in western North Carolina has accepted marriage license requests from 10 same-sex couples, despite a 2012 amendment to the state constitution forbidding such marriages. Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger said he will hold the licenses and ask state Attorney General Roy Cooper for legal advice. Reisinger said he thinks the state’s ban is unconstitutional.”
(Judy and Susan with son Nick looking on after their marriage license application was accepted in Buncombe County, NC.)
How to support and/or participate in the WE DO Campaign:
1) Support the WE DO Campaign with a tax-deductible donation.
To meet the couples that have participated in the WE DO Campaign click here. These brave couples and the friends and family who stand with them are speaking for a much larger community of LGBT people across the South. For every couple that applies we encounter many more who would like to apply, but cannot for a variety of reasons, including fear of losing their job or housing.