Archive for LGBT issues

The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) is excited to share that we joined an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the “Prop 8” and “DOMA” cases, which will be argued before the Court on March 26th and 27th. Filed today, the brief was authored by Paul C. Burke and Brett Tolman, lawyers representing the Utah Pride Center, with assistance provided by Meghann Burke, an Asheville-based attorney with Cogburn & Brazil, who leads CSE’s Legal Team.

Among its arguments, the brief asks the Supreme Court to extend the fundamental right to marry to gay and lesbian Americans, including those who live in Southern states where constitutional bans on marriage equality are in place. Using the case study of Utah laws, the brief speaks to the experience of lesbian and gay Americans in a majority of states – including the entire South – where systems of entrenched legal discrimination treat LGBT people as second-class citizens. The brief states “At every stage of life – from the moment a child has an inkling of being gay, through
adolescence, adulthood, and sometimes beyond the grave – gay Americans are haunted by laws that deny the existence of gay people, demean them as lesser human beings, deprive them of fundamental rights, and denigrate their lives and familial relationships.” The brief urges the Court to dismantle these systems of discrimination.

The brief submitted today to the Supreme Court outlines some of these harms. “The keystone of existing systems of [discrimination against] gay Americans is the denial of the right to marry. It is both the crux of the matter and the root of other forms of legal discrimination against gay citizens. The heartbreaking message to gay couples: Your love and commitment is unworthy of marriage. The deprivation of the right to marry harms gay citizens and . . . marks them with a stigma that has been used to justify other deprivations.”

A total of 28 LGBT advocacy organizations from 23 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, are signatories to the brief.  CSE is proud to stand with LGBT organizations from so many states.

The entire brief is available for download at: http://www.southernequality.org/doma-and-prop-8-amicus-brief/.

- Jasmine

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

Executive Director, Campaign for Southern Equality

www.southernequality.org

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Dec
30

Sunday Morning Reading

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Skipping around the internets, I found these delectables:

Turns out gerrymandering did the GOP a lot of favors nationwide this year, and the coup de grace was what they pulled off in North Carolina. The top line in the graphic below represents the popular vote, and the bottom line represents number of seats won. Read all about it at Mother Jones.

Read More→

Nov
13

En Route to Mississippi

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We’re driving through Tennessee right now (yes, I’m in the car writing this – the miracle of a wifi hotspot via Lindsey’s phone), heading down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This week, we’ll be holding WE DO trainings in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia as we gear up for Stage 4 of the WE DO Campaign. In January, we’ll be holding actions in seven Southern states and Washington D.C. as we continue to push for marriage equality.

Check out our newest WE DO video to learn more about what we’re up to:

To learn more about CSE visit our website  and check us out on Facebook to keep with our travels around the South.

- Jasmine

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director

Campaign for Southern Equality

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Nov
07

The Streak is Over

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The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara slipped this into my email inbox:

Last night was historic. For the first time, marriage equality has won at the ballot box. In Maryland and Maine, marriage equality will become law of the land, while discrimination was defeated in Minnesota. We’re still waiting on an official result in Washington, but current returns show a majority of voters approving marriage equality.

These results confirm that a growing majority of Americans support marriage equality.

But they also reflect reality: LGBT people live in every town in America, are fully equal and have a fundamental right to marry. Our nation’s laws need to catch up with these human realities. And they will, as we keep pushing for full federal equality.

Today, we thank those who worked so tirelessly this election cycle to help us take these huge steps forward. There is reason for great hope as we look at the years to come.

Next week, we’ll be back in touch with some exciting updates about Stage 4 of the WE DO Campaign, which will launch in January 2013 as we take action all across the South to resist unjust state marriage laws and call for full federal equality.

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Oct
28

The Moffitt/Muller Connection

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The image below is an email that Michael Muller sent from the gmail account of Rep. Tim Moffitt.  The contents of the message have been obscured.

 Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words…

As you may remember, on September 19th Rep. Tim Moffitt Twitter account sent out the following message : “They should lock up all the gays on their own island. Except for the lesbians. Y’all can have them!” The tweet was deleted shortly thereafter, followed by the standard apology and claim of a “hacking.”  (If you need a refresher, here’s Jake Frankel’s Mountain Xpress summary of the events). Two days later Rep. Moffitt filed this police report claiming “Un known person has hacked into the compl Twitter account.” Meanwhile Mr. Muller has used his own Twitter account to viciously attack Rep. Moffitt’s opponent Jane Whilden (here’s just one such instance) and not just Jane Whilden, Muller has spewed his misogynistic and homophobic bile at Susan Fisher as well (link).

The obvious question here, now that it has been established that Mr. Muller is working directly for Tim Moffitt, is how much of this is at Moffitt’s direction? Why go as far to file a phony police report? (I’m no internet lawyer, but that probably ain’t exactly legal). Lots of questions here: What do the campaigns of Nathan Ramsey and Mike Fryar (for whom Muller is also ostensibly working) think about this sort of behavior? I’m sure I’m leaving a few out, but feel free to add your own. I look forward to getting some straight answers for once, and I hope you do too.

Oct
26

Friday Open Thread

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Biden Time – With the Presidential race tied in NC and amazing Dem turnout in early voting, Jill and Beau Biden are coming to AVL.

Moogfest is on.

Nathan Ramsey sent out a mailer touting his opposition to marriage equality, and a Ramsey advisor used an anti-gay slur against Ramsey’s opponent.

Buncombe women running for office threw a press conference:

recent communications coming out of the Buncombe County GOP have gone from heated to downright degrading, despicable, and unethical. It is one thing to oppose someone’s policy, it is quite another for an official political organization to release photo-shopped filth and false insinuations of phony scandals through their official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Donate to the Power of 5 campaign today to support these outstanding female candidates! They need one last financial push to get across the finish line.

UNC-Asheville hosted a Food Day event on Wednesday that was packed! I had the opportunity to appear as a panelist.

I voted six days ago, and I’ve been wearing an I Voted Early sticker every day.

The Pumpkin Pedaller is Saturday. Come ride the city with us.

What’s happening with y’all?

Oct
19

Employment Equality Survey

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Now that early voting is upon us, we wanted to share this handy resource for Buncombe County voters who care about employment equality for LGBT people.

Will Buncombe County adopt equal employment policies for LGBT employees? The answer depends largely on the outcome of our County Commission races. Below you’ll find information about how County Commission candidates responded to questions about equal employment policies.

Candidates (District) Question #1


Do you support extending equal protections in Buncombe County’s Non-Discrimination policy to LGBT employees?

Question #2

 

Do you support extending same-sex domestic partner benefits to Buncombe County employees?

David Gantt (chair) Yes Yes
J.B. Howard (chair) No response No response
Don Guge (1) No response No response
Holly Jones (1) Yes Yes
Brownie Newman (1) Yes Yes
Ellen Frost (2) Yes Yes
Mike Fryar (2) No response No response
Christina Kelley G. Merrill  (2) No response No response
Carol Peterson (2) No response No response
Terry Van Duyn (3) Yes Yes
Joe Belcher (3) No response No response
David King (3) No response No response
Michelle Pace Wood (3) No response No response

Paid for by Equality NC Action Fund

Oct
08

Another Open Thread

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I’ve been studying City Council stuff, celebrating my wife’s birthday, and having some fun. Tom Sullivan’s doing GOTV for the Buncombe County Democratic Party. Everybody else has stuff going on, too, I reckon. Just when the most folks are tuning in to politics, all of us front pagers are busy as can be. So use this thread to:

1) Welcome Gov. Mitt Romney to Asheville. Like this: “Gov. Romney, welcome to Asheville. We’re a progressive city with the lowest unemployment in North Carolina. We are attracting big manufacturing with our dedication to multimodal infrastructure and public education. I hope you have an excellent experience with our living wage city staff while you’re here.”

2) Discuss the fancy new billboards that the bullies at the Buncombe County Republican Party are erecting. Like other bullies in your lives, they bully and then cry, “Just Joking!”. Next thing you know they’ll be holding some gay kid down and cutting his hair. Just having a laugh!

3) Give an opinion of the Business Improvement District proposal for downtown Asheville. This has been a really complicated issue to sort through, and I’m looking forward to the public hearing at tomorrow’s City Council meeting.

4) Wonder aloud at the bewildering season the Carolina Panthers are having.

5) Clamor for more beefcake shots of Shad Marsh.

6) Pepper the assembled with whatever else you’re carrying around in that head of yours. Because, Lord knows, this blog isn’t going to write itself!

Sep
06

DNC2012: Barney Frank Lights ‘Em Up

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The room was full at today’s LGBT Caucus meeting at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, and the speakers came one after another proclaiming the inevitability of equality and the hard work left to do. Who spoke?

Obama Campaign Manager, Jim Messina, who said, “It is not enough to win legislative victories, you have to win elections, too.”

Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, who said of Democrats’ diversity, “We accept, and that’s what makes us so strong.”

Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who said, “We have the first President and Vice President in history to confirm support for gay marriage.”

Mayor Cory Booker, who all but announced a gubernatorial run vs. Chris Christie, explained that since Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality, attitudes are changing among African-Americans.

Senator Al Franken, who talked about the positive change in military culture since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell, who has led the passage of multiple equality measures in that state.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who said, “I want Minnesota to be the first state to defeat this divisive marriage amendment.” She also reported that General Mills Co. Has come out against the anti-marriage amendment, so go buy some Cheerios.

Representative Barney Frank, whose speech in its entirety is in the video below. Watch the whole thing. You’ll be cheering and wondering how any LGBT person can support the Republican Party.

After the jump you can see photos from the Caucus.

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Sep
04

DNC2012: LGBT Caucus

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Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, asked a standing-room-only room at the Democratic National Convention whether they are better off than they were four years ago, and the cheers that met her question shook the walls. The audience was made up of LGBT delegates and allies attending their first of two caucus meetings.

If you’re wondering why they were so excited, you have only to look at the list of recent achievements touted by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a National HIV/AIDS strategy, a Presidential anti-bullying initiative, no longer defending Section 3 of DOMA, protections for transgendered citizens, first transgendered presidential appointee, repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and an endorsement of marriage equality. “Never,” Jarrett said, “has the journey to equality seen such success.”