Archive for LGBT issues

imageSo many stories, so little lunchtime. Have at it. I gotta go back to work.

Texas Abortion Bill Filibustered By State Senator Wendy Davis Is Dead

Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense Of Marriage Act


Netroots Nation 2013 Closing Keynote

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“Their tears are delicious.” – Marcos Moulitsas

Don’t miss my friend, Joel Silberman’s, 5-minute talk at 28:00: “The Deeper the Closet, the Bigger the Hair.”

I missed a good part myself. I’m watching it like this right now.

Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at
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Standing Up to Unjust Laws

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The Campaign for Southern Equality is marching across the south, calling for full federal equality for LGBT citizens. Watch the new video. All of us have a responsibility to be as brave as the couples who are requesting marriage licenses and standing up for a more perfect union. With all of the unjust laws being considered here in North Carolina against the poor, the middle class, minorities, college students, the elderly, pregnant women, etc. – understand that our LGBT compatriots are fighting to speed the day when they will be allowed recognition under the law.

After you watch the video, here’s a link that may help you know what to do next.

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Equality and Leadership

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Screenshot 2013-04-18 at 9.04.18 AMBack in 2010, I introduced same-sex domestic partner benefits policy for employees of the City of Asheville. Recognizing the relationships and health needs of our LGBT employees was a big step forward. As city officials it’s important that demonstrate leadership to ensure the values of our community are reflected in government. A year after passing same-sex domestic partner benefits, I worked with over 50 clergy from the area to introduce and pass the City’s Equality Resolution, which included a Domestic Partner Registry, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination policy, taking a stand against bullying, and endorsing same-sex marriage. I’m grateful to the Council members who supported providing increased safety, opportunity, and acceptance for those citizens marginalized by unjust laws and policies.

Since that time we’ve seen Mission Hospital and Care Partners, two of Buncombe County’s largest employers adopt same-sex domestic partner benefits. Most recently, leaders in the Buncombe County Commission have taken similar steps to protect and recognize their LGBT employees. Their wise decisions mean that thousands of area workers are treated with respect.

We can do more. It’s still legal to discriminate against LGBT citizens when offering housing, and that’s something we have a responsibility to address. When offering economic incentives to business partners, we can guarantee that they include sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination policies.

Anything short of full equality for our LGBT citizens is unjust, and I will work to continue our march toward a city that demonstrates its values in all of its policies.

If you believe that these steps are the right ones, then please take the time to visit my campaign website and volunteer or donate. It’s critical that we have leaders on City Council who have demonstrated ability to get things done, and I’m asking for your help to continue this important work.

The Campaign for Southern Equality has just released a new WE DO video:

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Ivy and Misha, who live in Piedmont, S.C. and are engaged to be married, show what it means to live with courage and dignity as an LGBT family in the South. And what it means to choose love.

Everyday LGBT people in the South face moments like this, against the backdrop of a political landscape that couldn’t be more dynamic. Buncombe County just passed domestic partner benefits. Next week, our country’s highest court will hear two landmark cases regarding LGBT rights.  Public support for marriage equality is at 58% according to a recent national poll.

– Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

Director, Campaign for Southern Equality

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America = EqualityTomorrow, your Buncombe County Commission will deliberate regarding equality in their health benefits and non-discrimination policy. On the agenda: Same-sex domestic partner benefits. Also likely to be discussed is whether to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the County’s employment non-discrimination policy. The latter is not on the printed agenda, and in order to consider it according to their rules, all seven Commissioners must agree to do so.

You’re encouraged to attend the meeting on Tuesday, March 19 at 4:30pm in the Commissioners’ Chambers at 200 College Street, Suite 326 in downtown Asheville. If you’d like to email the Commissioners to let them know your position, you can use this handy list:,,,,,,

After the jump you can read the email I sent earlier today. I’m excited to see our Commissioners have this opportunity to join the march of history toward full equality for all of our citizens.

They will not know your position unless you show up at the meeting or take a moment to write your representatives.

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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:

– Jasmine

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

Executive Director, Campaign for Southern Equality

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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.

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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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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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