NC lawmakers heading for special session Wednesday to discuss LGBT ordinance
BY JIM MORRILL N&O March 21, 2016
North Carolina legislative leaders announced Monday that they’ll convene a special legislative session Wednesday to deal with Charlotte’s controversial LGBT ordinance. Lawmakers acted on their own after Republican Gov. Pat McCrory declined to call a special session... But Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who oversees the Senate, and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, invoked a seldom-used constitutional provision to call themselves into session at 10 a.m. Wednesday... “We aim to repeal this ordinance before it goes into effect to provide for the privacy and protection of the women and children of our state,” Forest and Moore said in a joint statement.
Lawmakers are expected to block the Charlotte ordinance, which takes effect April 1.
A special session is expected to cost $42,000 a day. The General Assembly was already scheduled to reconvene for its so-called short session on April 25. The Charlotte ordinance, passed last month by City Council, would extend protections for the LGBT community. The most contentious provision would allow transgender people to use either a men’s or women’s bathroom, depending on the gender with which they identify. read article
Much more coverage on our
HB2 Anti-LGBT Bill Page
Same-sex marriage opt out now law after veto override
June 11, 2015
By Laura Leslie and Matthew Burns WRAL
With no warning and no debate allowed, the House voted Thursday morning to override Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of Senate Bill 2, allowing magistrates and county register of deeds employees to opt out of performing marriages for religious reasons. read article
Why NC's 'religious freedom' bill is worse than Indiana's
By Chris Kromm March 30, 2015
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) ignited a national firestorm last week after signing into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics argue provides a "license to discriminate" against gay people and others. Angie's List, Apple, Yelp and other companies condemned the move and even threatened to nix expansion projects in the state, prompting the governor to say he wants lawmakers to "clarify the intent" of the law.
But just as Indiana's law was gaining national infamy, North Carolina lawmakers introduced matching Religious Freedom Restoration Act bills in the state House and Senate -- and according to legal scholars, the legislation introduced last week could pose an even greater threat than Indiana's to civil rights. read article
'Religious freedom' bill filed amid protest
January 28 By Laura Leslie WRAL
The first Senate bill filed Wednesday would allow magistrates and employees of county registers of deeds offices to refuse to perform marriages or issue licenses due to religious objections. Some Democratic lawmakers and gay rights advocates say it would legitimize discrimination. Senate Bill 2, filed by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, would allow any magistrate or register of deeds employee to recuse himself or herself from performing all types of marriage for a period of six months for "sincerely held religious objection."
...At a press conference Wednesday morning, Democratic lawmakers and advocates for gay and lesbian North Carolinians said such a proposal would allow public servants sworn to uphold the Constitution to decide which parts they wish to uphold. "In this nation, we as citizens do not have to pass any government employee's personal religious test in order to receive a government service," said Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg. "Whether it's a prosecutor policeman, magistrate or mailman, government offices that are open to the public must be open to everyone on the same terms." read article/watch video
White House lights up rainbow colors to celebrate SCOTUS ruling
The Hill June 27, 2015
Supreme Court rules gay couples nationwide have a right to marry
By Robert Barnes June 26
A deeply divided Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live. The court’s action rewarded years of legal work by same-sex marriage advocates and marked the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence.
Marriages began Friday in states that had previously thwarted the efforts of same-sex couples to wed, while some states continued to resist what they said was a judicial order that changed the traditional definition of marriage and sent the country into uncharted territory. As of the court’s decision Friday morning, there were 14 states where same-sex couples were not allowed to marry. read article
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RULING REACTION, IMPACT IN NORTH CAROLINA
By GARY D. ROBERTSON
Friday, June 26, 2015 WTVD
...CELEBRATION Gay-rights advocates and same-sex couples celebrated the decision privately and publicly. "This victory is one we will celebrate for years to come and yet there is so much more to be done," Equality North Carolina executive director Chris Sgro said at a Raleigh news conference. He said employment non-discrimination laws for LGBT citizens now must be passed in North Carolina. Equality NC scheduled a "decision day" event Friday evening in Durham. read article
Legislative leaders say controversial religious freedom bills not moving
By Mark Binker April 23, 2015 WRAL
State House and Senate leaders said Thursday that they are unlikely to push forward this summer with North Carolina's own version of a religious freedom bill that has been the subject of controversy in other states where it has passed. Members of both the House and the Senate have filed versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which makes it illegal for the state to "burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations... However, the measure is broadly viewed as a way to legalize discrimination against gay and lesbian couples and has drawn criticism from the business community, including the leaders of big companies such as IBM and Red Hat. ...timing is key because lawmakers are facing the key April 30 "crossover" deadline by which bills that don't raise or spend money typically have to pass one chamber or the other in order to remain eligible for consideration during the legislative session. read article
Same-sex marriage debated as magistrates law passes Senate
By Mark Binker Feb 25, 2015 WRAL
Senators debated the rights of same-sex couples Wednesday morning as they voted in favor of a bill that would allow certain court officials to opt out of participating in marriages... The vote was 32-16 after a roughly two-hour debate. The bill now heads to the state House. read article
-- Also see --
NC Policy Watch: Senate leaders push to legalize discrimination
N&O: NC Senate approves bill to exempt magistrates from marriages with videos of Sen. Jackson and Sen. Newton
This is why judges matter
First lesbian and gay couples
wed in Durham
BY MARK SCHULTZ October 13, 2014
News & Observer
The Durham County Register of Deeds Office issued its first same-sex marriage licenses Monday after a judge’s ruling Friday led Wake County to stay open late that day and issue the first licenses in the state. But unlike neighboring Orange County, couples who came to the Durham office Monday had the benefit of a local minister who helped them make it official. The LGBTQ Center of Durham arranged for the Rev. Ginger Brasher-Cunningham of Pilgrim United Church of Christ to be on hand. By 10:30 she had already married five couples and performed a sixth ceremony for a couple that had already married in another state where same-sex marriages were legal. read article/see photos
Obama Finally Ready To Sign Executive Order Targeting LGBT Job Discrimination
07/18/2014 by Jennifer Bendery
President Barack Obama on Monday will sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers of federal contractors and the federal government. The executive order has two components: It prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity... and it explicitly bans discrimination against federal employees based on their gender identity... To the relief of the LGBT community, there is no sweeping religious exemption in the executive order. Obama is simply adding the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing executive order that protects employees of federal contractors from discrimination...
Once Obama signs the executive order, the provision affecting federal employees takes effect immediately, per the official. The provision affecting federal contractors will take effect early next year. read article
Breaking: Federal labor officials want same-sex couples in all states (and N.C.) covered by Federal Medical Leave Act
Sarah Ovaska June 20, 2014
The federal Department of Labor announced today that it will move to include same-sex marriages under the Federal Medical Leave Act, a decision that will mean more legal protections for families in states like North Carolina that don’t currently recognize gay marriages. The rule change being sought by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez would bring same-sex marriages under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the law that allows U.S. workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their ill spouses and immediate family members, or care for an adopted child or newborn baby.
“The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between succeeding at work and being a loving family caregiver,” Perez said, according to a written statement. “Under the proposed revisions, the FMLA will be applied to all families equally, enabling individuals in same-sex marriages to fully exercise their rights and fulfill their responsibilities to their families.” read article
N.C. Clergy Bring Legal Challenge to Amendment One, Citing Religious Freedom
Religious Leaders Seek the Right to Wed Same-Sex Couples in their Congregations
Aaron Sarver, Communications Director, Campaign for Southern Equality, 773.960.2857 firstname.lastname@example.org
April 28, 2014 Equality NC
This morning a federal challenge to Amendment One was filed in the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of the United Church of Christ (UCC) as a national denomination, clergy from across faith traditions and same-sex couples. The case challenges the constitutionality of marriage laws in North Carolina - including Amendment One - that ban marriage between same-sex couples and make it illegal for clergy to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples within their congregations. read article
Couples plan Tax Day protests
Same-sex couples in N.C., S.C. say state governments' tax treatments unfair
by Matt Comer goqnotes.com April 14, 2014
Same-sex couples in state capitals in North Carolina and South Carolina plan to hold Tax Day protests tomorrow, calling upon their state governments to recognize their legal marriages. Couples will rally in Raleigh, N.C., and Columbia, S.C., to highlight the tax disparities and discrimination they face when filing taxes this year... read article
Tax Day an Unfair Burden on NC Same-Sex Couples
April 15, 2014 by Jennifer Ferris
I get overwhelmed by my taxes... But this year North Carolina’s same-sex married couples face an even tougher challenge. Since the state refuses to recognize their marriages, same-sex couples will have to complete five separate tax returns in order to meet their legal obligation.
Let me say that again: Five. Separate. Tax. Returns.
In contrast, married heterosexual couples file only two tax returns: a federal and a state. Because the Defense of Marriage Act got overturned federally, same-sex couples find themselves subject to conflicting tax laws. In the eyes of the federal government, they are legally married and must file as such. According to North Carolina state law, they are unmarried, and must file separately. read article
Federal judge strikes down NC's same-sex marriage ban
WRAL Oct 10, 2014
Nearly two years after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment recognizing marriage only as a union between a man and a woman, a federal court judge in Asheville on Friday overturned the ban, allowing gay and lesbian couples across the state to marry immediately. read article
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Same-Sex Marriage Cases
Monday, 06 October 2014 ACLU
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it would not review appeals court rulings in seven states, including one from Virginia by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, striking down state bans on marriage for same-sex couples. The decision means that all of those rulings stand, and the states in their jurisdiction must comply with the law and recognize the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
North Carolina is one of five states in the Fourth Circuit. The Supreme Court’s announcement means that all states in the Fourth Circuit, including North Carolina, are bound by the Fourth Circuit’s ruling that struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. “The Supreme Court’s decision means that the freedom to marry for same-sex couples must be recognized here in North Carolina without delay,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “We are asking the district court here in North Carolina to immediately issue a ruling striking down North Carolina’s unconstitutional and discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples... read article
Gay rights advocates call on McCrory to revisit executive order
by Clayton Henkel June 30, 2014
Equality NC is calling on Governor Pat McCrory to revisit an executive order he signed Monday that requires equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment ‘without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information.’
LGBT advocates say that the governor’s order referred to several specific classifications yet excluded gay and transgender workers from the state’s nondiscrimination policy. McCrory’s office issued a press release Monday, touting the significance of the executive order. read article
Federal judge strikes down Oregon ban on same-sex marriage
BY REID WILSON May 19 at 5:28 pm
A U.S. District Court judge struck down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage Monday, the seventh ruling that a state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision invalidating sections of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The decision came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a bid by the National Organization for Marriage to stay the ruling. The Oregon judge, Michael McShane, had denied NOM’s effort to intervene in the case. read article
Same-sex marriage an issue in North Carolina elections? Maybe
BY MARY C. CURTIS May 16, 2014
Just when you thought there were plenty of contentious issues that put North Carolina’s Senate candidates at odds, same-sex marriage is added to the list. With a state constitution amendment – Amendment One — bolstering an existing law against it, there was little reason same-sex marriage would merit major consideration as North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican, battles Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. But a federal court case in neighboring Virginia, plus a host of lawsuits – including one with a religious twist well suited to the Bible belt – have put the issue in the headlines and on the table.
The two political opponents have made their positions clear. Tillis strongly supported an amendment to the North Carolina constitution, passed overwhelmingly by voters in May 2012, which says “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.” However, before the vote, he predicted that if it passed, it would probably be repealed within 20 years because of changing public sentiment. read article
After a Student Got Bullied for Being Trans, a Grassroots Movement Fights Back
By Marcie Bianco April 15, 2014 Policy Mic
Last month, Central Piedmont Community College student Andraya Williams was interrogated by a female security guard after she exited a women's restroom on campus. The guard wanted "proof" that Williams was a woman. When Williams provided her student I.D. as verification, not only did the guard refuse the I.D. as proof, but she laughed at Williams before calling additional security as backup and having Williams escorted off school grounds. Williams' harassment allegedly did not end there, however. CPCC's administration informed her that she has "no legal rights" as a trans person, and that her suspension remains in effect until she agrees to use only gender neutral restrooms.
...The speed of the backlash directed towards Central Piedmont Community College's transgender policies is indicative of something that's rarely discussed in the mainstream media: the growing power of grassroots transgender activism in America... As more people speak out on Williams' behalf, it's important to note that this young woman's struggle is similar to that of many trans men and women across America. The trans community, and particularly the trans women of color community, faces the most harassment and discrimination out of any LGBT group. read article
Couples ask federal court to block enforcement of state’s same-sex marriage ban
Sharon McCloskey Progressive Pulse April 9, 2014
Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation are ramping up the challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban, today filing a new complaint in federal court on behalf of three married, same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their marriages. Because of the serious medical condition of one member of each couple, they are asking the court to stop the state from enforcing the ban while their lawsuit continues, claiming that they will suffer irreparable harm otherwise. read article
Federal judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban
by Laura Clawson FEB 26, 2014 Daily Kos
The marriage equality judgments just keep coming. Texas is the latest state to have its same-sex marriage ban declared unconstitutional by a federal district judge: U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia cited recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings as having trumped Texas’ moves to ban gay marriage.“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” he said in his order. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”
It's been less than two weeks since a Virginia district judge struck down that state's marriage ban, joining judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Kentucky who had ruled against at least some parts of those states' gay marriage bans. read article
A Steady Path to Supreme Court as Gay Marriage Gains Momentum in States
By ADAM LIPTAK FEB. 14, 2014 New York Times
A sweeping decision on Thursday night struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage and continued a remarkable winning streak for gay rights advocates, putting new pressure on the Supreme Court to decide the momentous question it ducked last summer: whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage...
“The pace of change has perhaps outstripped the Supreme Court’s preferences, but the momentum is tremendous,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia. Rapid changes in public opinion are also playing a part, said Andrew M. Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern. “It is becoming increasingly clear to judges that if they rule against same-sex marriage their grandchildren will regard them as bigots,” he said. read article
Obama Administration To Recognize Utah Same-Sex Couples’ Marriages“
by Chris Geidner BuzzFeed
January 10, 2014
The federal government will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married in Utah in recent weeks, the Justice Department announced Friday. Approximately 1,360 same-sex couples married between Dec. 20, 2013 — when U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby found the state’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages to be unconstitutional — and this Monday, when the Supreme Court put new marriages of same-sex couples on hold pending the state’s appeal of Shelby’s ruling.
read article/watch video
Obama to skip Olympic games, selects gay athletes for Sochi delegation
EDDIE PELLS | Associated Press
Tuesday, Dec.17, 2013 LGBTQ Nation
President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is – and isn’t – sending to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics.
Billie Jean King will be one of two openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies, Obama announced Tuesday. For the first time since 2000, however, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games. Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda.” read article
Tell Your Legislators: Stop Funding Discriminatory Schools
12-5-2013 --Last week, we hosted a press conference in Wilmington that garnered widespread media attention around Myrtle Grove Christian School's anti-gay enrollment policies and prompted public scrutiny of a new state program that could use your taxpayer dollars to fund these types of discriminatory schools starting in 2014.
In response, over 700 North Carolinians have already answered our call to action -- contacting their legislators to demand that not one dollar of their money go to schools with exclusionary policies.
But we can't stop now. We need to turn those initial hundreds into thousands of voices.
Use this form to email your legislators today and call on the General Assembly to exclude discriminatory schools from the taxpayer-funded Opportunity Scholarships Program.
It's a basic premise: we don't want our tax dollars distributed to discriminatory schools in our state. And it's time for our legislators to take notice and take action to stop it.
Same-sex couple files joint N.C. tax return in protest
April 14, 2014 Meghann Evans
...The Mocksville residents have been together for 14 years and legally married last year in New York. While they can jointly file federal income taxes as a married couple, the state of North Carolina – with its continued ban on same-sex marriage – instructs them to file state returns as single individuals.
As part of the “Refuse to Lie” campaign, Jamis and Johnson visited the downtown Winston-Salem post office on Monday to mail a joint state income tax return in protest. Friends and representatives from the Campaign for Southern Equality were standing by in support. read article
If the "turn away the gay" bill becomes law, be ready to face the fire, Arizona.
February 21, 2014
By George Takei
Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.” This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us. read
Historic Ruling for Marriage Equality in Virginia
February 13, 2014 by Michael Cole-Schwartz, Human Rights Campaign
Today, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s ban on marriage for lesbian and gay couples is unconstitutional in the case Bostic v. McDonnell brought by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER). Her ruling is stayed pending appeal, meaning marriages will not occur immediately in the commonwealth...
The Virginia ruling comes on the heels of a year-long string of electoral, judicial and legislative victories for marriage equality. Recently the New Mexico Supreme Court and a federal district judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio and Kentucky have ruled in favor of marriage for lesbian and gay couples. read article
Blue Cross reverses course, will offer family coverage to same-sex couples
BY JOHN MURAWSKI January 29, 2014
Blue Cross and Blue Shield has reversed its policy of refusing health insurance to gay and lesbian households under the federal health law and canceling their coverage in North Carolina. The insurer said Wednesday it will now offer family coverage for same-sex couples and unmarried couples, and will also extend the benefit to small businesses for the first time.
In mid-January, Blue Cross systematically canceled 20 family policies and notified the affected customers they would have to reapply as unmarried single individuals. Some were married legally in other states and feared they would be required to lie on an insurance application form by denying their marriage...
“We should have more thoughtfully considered this decision, with full appreciation of the impact it would have on same-sex married couples and domestic partners,” Wilson said. “We’re sorry we failed to do so...” Those whose family coverage had been denied, and is now being reinstated, cheered Blue Cross’s decision. Some are still absorbing what it means for them. read article
Watch the dominoes fall: The Utah case and marriage equality in North Carolina
1/8/2014 by Dr. Charles Beem NC Policy Watch
It seems increasingly to be a world turned upside down these days in the nationwide quest for marriage equality. This is true even here in the Tar Heel state, where during a primary election in May 2012, a plurality of voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages and civil unions in this state (even though they were already prohibited by state law).
...amendment supporters ...shortsighted and history-defying efforts to stop the flow are akin to sticking fingers in a leaky dike. The Triangle region especially has proven to be a demographic magnet as the economy improves, with increasing numbers of gays and lesbians arriving in search of educational and employment opportunities...
As Justice Antonin Scalia rightly noted in his dissent from the majority opinion striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act last June, the Court’s ruling would have a domino effect that would eventually topple all state statutory and constitutional bans on gay marriage. read article
Congratulations Lydia Lavelle!
Sworn in as the new mayor of Carrboro - and the first openly-gay lesbian mayor in NC.
pictured: Mayor Lavelle and her partner Alicia Stemper
(Photo by Chapel Hill Town Councilman Lee Storrow.) Equality NC
Yesterday, plaintiffs from the ACLU of North Carolina's lawsuit for second-parent adoption and against Amendment One - like Durham's Marcie & Chantelle Fisher-Borne - joined Equality NC to discuss the future of parental and marriage equality in NC. WATCH & SHARE this NC Policy Watch crucial conversation:http://ow.ly/rs0ux
Hawaii says aloha to same-sex marriage
November 12, 2013 CBS/AP
The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday legalizing gay marriage, putting Hawaii a signature away from becoming a same-sex wedding destination. Gov. Neil Abercrombie...said in a statement he will sign the measure. It will allow thousands of gay couples living in Hawaii and even more tourists to marry in the state starting Dec. 2.
President Barack Obama praised the bill's passage, saying the affirmation of freedom and equality makes the country stronger. "I've always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today's vote makes me even prouder," Obama said. read article
ENDA Vote: Senate Votes To Outlaw LGBT Workplace Discrimination
by Amanda Terkel 11/07/2013 Huffington Post
The Senate voted Thursday to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, landmark civil rights legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in the workplace. The final vote was 64-32, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats...
In a statement immediately following the vote, Obama also called on the House to take up the bill... "Now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it. I urge the House Republican leadership to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and send it to my desk so I can sign it into law." read article/watch video
Gay and lesbian couples sue for marriage equality and adoption rights in North Carolina
by John H. Tucker INDY Weekly
Download the lawsuit
Six same-sex couples are suing the state of North Carolina and Durham and Guilford county court officials as they seek to overturn the state Supreme Court's 2010 ban on second-parent adoptions and the state's prohibition on gay marriage.
They are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation. The second-parent adoption case, Fisher-Borne v. Smith, was filed in Greensboro last year and amended this summer to include a challenge to the gay marriage ban.
Here, the families speak about their lives and the lawsuit. read
ACLU Moves to Challenge N.C.’s Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
ACLU July 9, 2013
Today the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) announced plans to challenge North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples by amending a federal lawsuit filed against the state last year on behalf of six same-sex couples and their children that challenges North Carolina’s ban on second parent adoptions. The announcement comes on the same day that the ACLU has filed a federal challenge to Pennsylvania’s marriage ban and the ACLU and Lambda Legal have announced a challenge to Virginia’s marriage ban. read article
Court Overturns DOMA
NPR by EYDER PERALTA
June 26, 2013
The Supreme Court issued rulings on two highly-anticipated cases on gay marriage today. By 5-4, it ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional.
In a separate ruling, it declined to take on the broader issue of gay marriage. The court decided that supporters of Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that had outlawed same-sex marriages in the California, did not have standing to bring the case to the court. read article
March 28, 2013
By Kate Pickert
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases that will determine the fate of same-sex marriage in America. ...David Von Drehle’s new cover story chronicles how, thanks to a massive shift in public opinion, gay marriage went from inconceivable to inevitable in less than two decades. To illustrate Von Drehle’s story, TIME invited... to share some intimate moments for photographer Peter Hapak. read article
read original story: How Gay Marriage Won
Rubio Says It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Gay
Think Progress Jun 13, 2013
By Adam Peck and Scott Keyes
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is touted as a top GOP presidential prospect in 2016, thinks it should be legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation. read article
By Robert Barnes
A cautious and conflicted Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed wary of a broad constitutional finding on whether same-sex couples have the right to marry, and some justices indicated that it may be premature for them to intervene in a fast-moving, unsettled political environment.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, considered to be the pivotal vote on the issue, said the court was in “uncharted waters.” He questioned whether it should have even accepted the case...The court’s historic review of same-sex marriage continues Wednesday with a more limited question: May Congress withhold federal benefits from same-sex couples married in those states where it is legal? read article
Read the full transcript here.
Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem says it won’t marry heterosexual couples until same sex couples can marry. Instead of marriage ceremonies, council members at Green Street United Methodist are asking pastors to only conduct relationship blessings in the sanctuary.
"On the matter of gay marriage, the church sees injustice in the legal position of state government and the theological position of our denomination. North Carolina prohibits same sex marriage and all the rights and privileges marriage brings. The Leadership Council has asked that their ministers join others who refuse to sign any State marriage licenses until this right is granted to same sex couples... read article
By Luke Johnson
At least 75 top Republicans have signed a legal brief to be submitted to the Supreme Court this week, arguing that gay marriage is a constitutional right, according to The New York Times, which got a copy of the document.
The court is preparing to take on the subject of gay marriage late next month, when it will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act. It is expected to render a decision in early summer. read more
By Anjali Sareen
The Huffington Post
The Obama administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense Of Marriage Act in a brief that calls the law unconstitutional because it violates "the fundamental guarantee of equal protection."
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argues in the brief that Section 3 of the 1996 federal law prohibits the marriage of same-sex couples and should get the court's close scrutiny. read article
Group says school with anti-gay policy shouldn't get tax dollars
By Pressley Baird November 26, 2013
Star News Online
A statewide gay rights group wants the General Assembly to change its new tuition voucher program so schools with policies that exclude gay people won't receive taxpayer funding.
Members of the gay rights group Equality N.C. spoke out Tuesday against a policy recently adopted by Myrtle Grove Christian School that requires students' families to promise they won't support or participate in a gay lifestyle. The faith group N.C. Values Coalition also released a statement Tuesday supporting Myrtle Grove Christian School's right to set its own admission policies. read article
Five Things to Know About the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
ENDA passed the Senate, but can it get past John Boehner in the House?
By NICO LANG November 18, 2013 Rolling Stone
On Friday, November 7th, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would outlaw discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace. The vote passed by a wide two-to-one margin, with 64 Senators voting in favor and 32 opposing the bill. Currently, only 21 states have legal protections for their LGBT workers... As the bill moves to the House – where Speaker John Boehner recently claimed the legislation has "no basis or need" – here are five things you need to know about ENDA:
1. This is the first time in history a transgender employment non-discrimination bill has passed in the Senate...
2. It wasn't just Senate Democrats who went for ENDA. The bill passed with a bipartisan majority...
3. Despite Republican support in the Senate, the legislation will face a tough battle in the Boehner-led House....
4. Whether or not the bill passes, Obama has the opportunity to make a statement on LGBT discrimination...
5. The bill won't pass without public mobilization...
Gay rights bill poised for final Senate vote
By BURGESS EVERETT | 11/6/13
If everything goes as planned, gay rights history will be made on Thursday in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday set up the the final series of votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act--which prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity--culminating in a vote final passage on Thursday afternoon if the bill passes a key, 60-vote threshold procedural test in the morning... “People should be judged by their experience, their qualifications, and their job performance, and not by their sexual orientation. Someone should not be able to be fired just because he or she is gay,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said... But work is not done yet for ENDA supporters--the bill will likely hit a brick wall in the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has expressed opposition to the bill as harmful to the economy. read article
LGBT Job Discrimination Ban To Get Senate Floor Consideration By Thanksgiving
October 28, 2013 by Chris Geidner BuzzFeed
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Monday that he will bring legislation banning anti-LGBT employment discrimination to the floor for consideration before Thanksgiving.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban most employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, was passed out of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee with bipartisan support earlier this year. read article
Six families challenge NC gay marriage ban
By Mark Binker
WRAL July 29, 3013
North Carolina's constitutional provision banning gay marriage should be struck down, a group of six same-sex families argue in federal court.
The families originally sued over North Carolina law that bans both partners of a same-sex couple from adopting a child. In an amendment to that complaint, the couples say that North Carolina's gay marriage ban not only deprives them of rights as a couple, but hurts their children's well-being. read article
High court rulings don't affect NC same-sex marriage ban
WRAL By Bruce Mildwurf June 26, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday on federal and California laws on same-sex marriage have no impact on North Carolina's ban on such unions.
The court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, allowing couples married in states that recognize gay marriage to receive federal tax, health care and pension benefits. The court sidestepped ruling on Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California, saying it lacks jurisdiction.
The Prop 8 decision means a lower court ruling overturning the law remains in place, allowing gay marriages to resume in California, but it doesn't change laws on same-sex marriages in other states. read article
Thank You Senator Kay Hagan!