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Know Your Rights: Hospital Visitation

By Jen Jones on 04/14/2013 @ 05:18 PM

Tags: Hospital Visitation

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Despite having the requisite healthcare power of attorney documents, Roger Gorley was arrested after refusing to leave the bedside of his sick partner, Allen, at a Missouri hospital on April 9, 2013. Know your visitation rights: http://equalitync.org/what/issues/hospital_visitation/

Roger Gorley is like so many of us – a person who refused to leave the side of a sick partner while they received treatment in the hospital.

But Roger Gorley is also gay Missourian, living in a state that doesn’t recognize his relationship to his partner. And as you might have heard by now – in a horrific story making national headlines - unlike the majority of Americans, when Roger refused to leave his partner’s side, he was handcuffed and forcibly removed from Research Medical Center in Kansas City.

While the details of this incident are only now emerging, in light of Roger’s story you may be wondering about your rights if the same situation happened to you.

So what are your rights as it relates to hospital visitation in North Carolina?

We’re proud to say that in 2008, Equality NC helped secure a statewide hospital visitation provision helping ensure that same-sex partners and other loved ones would be treated the same as immediate family. With passage of this rule, North Carolina hospital patients have the right to receive the visitors who matter most to them regardless of the legal status of their relationship.

What’s more is that in 2010, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued guidelines requiring all hospitals receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding — nearly every hospital in the country — to adopt visitation policies similar to those we have in place in North Carolina, allowing for visitation in the hospital for same sex couples on an equal footing with straight couples.

Learn more about your hospital visitation rights in North Carolina and important information you can take with you to the hospital:

www.equalitync.org/what/issues/hospital_visitation

Will these rules stop all bias against us in the hospital setting?

Of course not. And that‘s why Equality NC is here. But if you know your rights, have this information handy, and have it with you when you visit a loved one, you will at least be more prepared. And trust me, hospitals take the threat of losing all Medicare and Medicaid funding very seriously.

(As seriously as we take protecting you.)

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Wake Forest University: Same-sex marriage Supreme Court cases: What will they mean for North Carolina?

By Jen Jones on 03/23/2013 @ 01:12 PM

Tags: Wake Forest University, Same-sex marriage, Supreme Court, Cases North Carolina

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John Dinan, professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest, says the Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8 could impact the constitutionality of same-gender marriage bans like North Carolina's recently-passed Amendment One.

Winston-Salem, N.C. -- A pair of cases concerning recognition of same-sex marriage that will be before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26 and 27 have possible implications for North Carolina policies and residents, according to John Dinan, professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest.

One case involves a challenge to Proposition 8, a 2008 California state constitutional amendment barring recognition of same-sex marriage.

According to a media advisory released by Wake Forest University on March 20, "the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding the legitimacy of the California amendment could have implications for North Carolina and other states, according to Dinan. The Supreme Court could uphold the California amendment. Or, it could invalidate the California amendment on the ground that once a state court recognizes a right to same-sex marriage this cannot be overturned by a subsequent state constitutional amendment.

Dinan says: 'There is also a possibility that in striking down the California amendment the Supreme Court could recognize a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage, in which case same-sex marriage bans in North Carolina and other states would be struck down.'"

A second case features a challenge to a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage for purposes of administering federal programs such as Social Security.

Dinan says: 'If the Supreme Court decides to uphold several federal circuit court decisions invalidating this provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, this would mean that legally married same-sex couples living in North Carolina or any other state would be able to access federal benefits to the same extent as other married couples.'"

Dinan is the author of The American State Constitutional Tradition and writes an annual review of constitutional developments in the 50 states.

Equality NC will live tweet the Supreme Court hearings of oral arguments on DOMA and Prop 8, March 26-27. Follow @EqualityNC on Twitter for more news and information.

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Register for Equality NC's LOBBY DAY of Action

By Jen Jones on 03/14/2013 @ 05:12 PM

Tags: lobby day, registration, equality nc, april 16

Are you someone who is...

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Let your friends and followers know you'll be fighting for Equality in 2013. Share this image on Facebook.

  • eager to make a difference in the fight for Equality, but don't know where to begin?
  • looking for a way to make your voice heard in the General Assembly, but aren't sure exactly how to do it?
  • driven to fight for rights, justice and protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender citizens living and working in your own community, but aren't sure how to help?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above,

REGISTER NOW for Equality NC's 2013 LOBBY DAY of Action on Tuesday, April 16:

www.equalitync.org/lobbyday

We know it takes a strong commitment to Equality for you to take a day away from work, school, or family to drive to Raleigh. But we also know you *are* committed.

In return, we pledge to provide a day of training and support to help you organize, plan, and fight for hardworking LGBT North Carolinians you know and love.

Bring your friends, family, or coworkers to this momentum-building event. And make new connections by thanking your legislators for their work or by holding them accountable for the votes they took. Most importantly, help us make sure that every legislator knows he or she has LGBT constituents and allies in their district!

Together, we can then take these experiences home and organize our communities to take action.

Equality NC's LOBBY DAY is your first, best chance to make your voice heard at the North Carolina General Assembly. We need every voice we can get. Won't you join us?

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Medicaid Expansion: Help Save Lives in NC

By Jen Jones on 02/20/2013 @ 04:05 PM

Tags: Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion, Pat McCrory, North Carolina General Assembly, LGBT

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DOWNLOAD & SHARE on Facebook to show your support for Medicaid expansion.

It was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said: "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

All of us, regardless of income, should have access to health care when we need it.

Nevertheless, the N.C. General Assembly is working to approve a No Medicaid Expansion/No State Exchange bill which would jeopardize health care for half a million North Carolinians, including many LGBT people you know and love. It now moves to the Governor's office for approval.

Call Governor McCrory's office RIGHT NOW at (919) 733-5811. Ask that he expand Medicaid and create a healthier state for all North Carolinians.

You can also send an e-mail, fax or tweet request via the Office of the Governor website at www.governor.state.nc.us/contact.

There are real, potentially life-changing reasons this is important to LGBT North Carolinians:

  • Under current law, single, childless adults, regardless of income, are ineligible for Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid means countless, low-income LGBT North Carolinians can have access to health insurance for the first time.
  • Expanding Medicaid would mean that low-income people living with HIV/AIDS no longer have to wait until they're sick to qualify for life-saving insurance.
  • Not only would Medicaid expansion save an average of 2,840 lives each year, it would create 25,000 North Carolina jobs and sustain the state's many rural hospitals.

It takes only a moment to make this important call.

Together we can keep our state healthy. Together we can build a state of Equality.

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President Obama's State of the Union Includes Gays and Lesbians, But No New Commitments to Equality

By Jen Jones on 02/13/2013 @ 04:05 PM

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"It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love." - President Obama, State of the Union, February 12, 2013

In President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, he made two references to gays and lesbians, but made no new commitments to LGBT equality.

The President referenced equal treatment and benefits for all service members and their families—gay and straight.

OBAMA: All this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk – our diplomats, our intelligence officers, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military in the world. We will invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight. We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans – investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned.

TAKE ACTION: Urge President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the armed forces based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Speaking about the nation’s promise of economic stability the President also, said that “who you love” should not impede your ability to be rewarded for hard work.

OBAMA: It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class. It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.

TAKE ACTION: Urge President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to ThinkProgress, "Reactions from the LGBT movement were mixed, but not overly critical. Nevertheless, Obama did not utilize the opportunity to specify action on protecting the employment rights of LGBT people through either the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or an executive order for government contractors, as had been hoped. Further, there was no reference to members of the trans community, who continue to face some alarmingly high rates of discrimination and mistreatment in society. Still, references to gays and lesbians and the need to protect their families are important, and the high expectations for LGBT-inclusion in the State of the Union reflect just how far the nation has progressed."

Equality NC couldn’t agree more. But there’s more to be done.

Together we can unite our state. Together we can build a state of Equality.

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Williams Institute: Potential Impact of a Strict Voter Identification Law on Transgender Voters in NC

By Jen Jones on 02/07/2013 @ 04:05 PM

Tags: Voter ID, Voter Identification Law, Transgender, Voters, North Carolina

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Did you know a strict photo ID law for voting may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for nearly 5,000 transgender residents of North Carolina? A new report from Jody L. Herman, Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow and Manager of Transgender Research for The Williams Institute illustrates the impact of North Carolina's strict voter ID legislation on the state's transgender community.

"Transgender people who have transitioned to live in a gender different from the gender assigned to them at birth face unique obstacles to obtaining identification documents that reflect their correct gender. Transgender citizens with inaccurate identification may encounter obstacles to voting. An increasing number of U.S. states have adopted voter identification laws (voter ID laws), which require voters to prove their identity by providing an acceptable form of identification to poll workers before voting in an election. The strictest voter ID laws require voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polls. If North Carolina were to implement a strict photo ID law for voting, this law may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for nearly 5,000 transgender residents of North Carolina."

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL REPORT.

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Join Equality NC for HKonJ

By Jen Jones on 02/05/2013 @ 12:12 PM

Tags: Equality NC, HKonJ, NAACP, Historic Thousands on Jones Street

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In case you missed it, in 2012, Equality NC supporters joined thousands of fair-minded North Carolinians for a historic march through downtown Raleigh to protest regressive legislation, including Amendment One, North Carolina's constitutional ban on the freedom to marry.

Better known as "HKonJ," last year's Historic Thousands on Jones Street People's Assembly Coalition, sponsored by the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, marked our first look at the NAACP's strong commitment to defeat Amendment One, and a new coalition of organizations and community leaders from all across the state that would fight against this discriminatory constitutional rewrite and for North Carolina's growing LGBT community.

Join us this Saturday as we once again stand with our friends and allies, the NAACP and the broad coalition that makes up HKonJ -- the state's biggest social justice event -- as well as honor the work of the NAACP, show the resilience of the LGBT and allied community, and recommit to our fight for Equality for all North Carolinians.

Learn more and RSVP today on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/events/494191550624224/

And don't forget to march with your friends at Equality NC. Details include:

Meeting Time: 9:30am (Look for the ENC banner and table. Sign in, and pick up your rainbow armband.)

Meeting Location: 105 E South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601 (McDonald’s parking lot across from Shaw University)

Closest Event Parking: Alexander Square Parking Garage, 120 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC

We will have sign-making materials on-hand or feel free to bring your own handmade signs for the march.

As NC NAACP's Rev. Dr. William J. Barber says, "forward together - not one step back!"

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Inauguration Day 2013: Help Us Finish the Journey

By Jen Jones on 01/22/2013 @ 11:12 AM

President Obama's historic inaugural address yesterday – marking the first time a President has explicitly mentioned "gay" Americans in inaugural remarks – not only spoke volumes about the progress we've made, but also to the work we have yet to do.

In his speech, the President reminded the country:

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

Help us complete the journey:

And don't forget to join Equality NC for Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ), a march of thousands on Saturday, February 9, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on South St. in Raleigh, as we mobilize for justice in the New Year. For more information, visit hkonj.com.

Let's finish the journey we started...together.

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On MLK Day

By Jen Jones on 01/21/2013 @ 11:12 AM

Tags: MLK, Martin Luther King Day, MLK Day

Today, Equality NC joins the nation in observing the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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"This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing -- embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate -- ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us."4 Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate."

-Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1967), "A Time To Break Silence"

Join Equality NC for Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ), a march of thousands on Saturday, February 9, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on South St. in Raleigh, as we mobilize for justice in the New Year. For more information, visit hkonj.com.

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Don't Forget to Support a New Year of Equality!

By Jen Jones on 12/30/2012 @ 11:12 AM

With only 48 hours to go until midnight, December 31, won't you make a special, year-end, tax-deductible donation right now and help us make a real difference for Equality in 2013?

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If you've been thinking about it, this is it - it all comes down to TODAY and TOMORROW!

For this one last chance in 2012, there are two, quick and easy ways to give the gift of Equality:

Happiest of New Years!

PS: Don't forget to ring in a New Year for Equality! Make your contribution to Equality NC Foundation TODAY or TOMORROW during our Equality Holiday.

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Election 2012: What it all means.

By Jen Jones on 11/07/2012 @ 01:05 PM

“What do last night’s election results mean for LGBT North Carolinians?”

Results are still coming in, but we already know history was made last night.

Nationally, the LGBT community scored unprecedented victories.

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Congratulations and THANK YOU to everyone involved in the fight for equality. (theFour2012.com)

President Barack Obama, the most LGBT-friendly Commander in Chief in the history of our country, was re-elected for a second term. Voters in Maine and Maryland affirmed marriage equality and voters in Washington appear to be doing the same, becoming the first states to publicly ratify the freedom to marry. Voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment that was very similar to Amendment One, sending a strong signal to the rest of the country that we as a people are ready to move forward for equality. And Wisconsin is sending Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate as its first openly-gay member.

It was truly a historic night.

Closer to home, however, it was a more bittersweet result.

We are still waiting for official results in many North Carolina races, but we are heartened that openly-gay state Rep. Marcus Brandon will be returning to the General Assembly. And while openly-lesbian legislative candidates Susan Wilson and Deb Butler lost their bids last night, their historic campaigns have become a model for fostering LGBT leadership for years to come.

Republicans won the Governor’s mansion, expanded their majority in the state House and Senate, and held control of the Supreme Court, signaling a challenging environment for progressive causes. However, virtually all of our endorsed pro-equality Council of State candidates were re-elected, keeping allies in some of North Carolina's highest offices.

Despite any setbacks here at home, this is a momentous time in our collective movement. And we have to seize the moment: get right back to the work of telling our stories, changing hearts and minds, and improving conditions for every single LGBT North Carolinian.

And so, for the next two years it will be up to all of us to let those in Raleigh know that any attempt to roll back LGBT rights and protections will be met with unprecedented opposition, and that people in every district, every region, every corner of the state, are now ready, willing and able to fight if need be.

After all, we are a movement forged from these very challenges. And this is our moment.

Like you, we're still evaluating exactly what this new environment means as we work together to move North Carolina forward. We'll be sharing more of our next steps in the coming days and weeks, visiting your communities, and asking you to join us all along the way.

But know, no matter who is elected, Equality NC will never stop fighting for Equality in our state.

Finally, we send a special thank those who worked so tirelessly this election cycle to help us take these tremendous leaps forward. You remain our hope for a more equal tomorrow in the Tar Heel State.

Here's to never giving up. Here's to fighting for Equality.

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Don't Just Take Yourself to the Polls

By Jen Jones on 11/06/2012 @ 08:05 AM

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Don't just take yourself to the polls. Take a friend. And the 2012 Equality NC Action Fund VOTER GUIDE.

As a friend to Equality who votes, you know your vote is important.

Here in North Carolina, your polling place is open from now until 7:30 p.m. And we want to make sure you have all the information you need to cast an informed ballot in key North Carolina races.

Please CLICK HERE for your 2012 Equality NC Action Fund VOTER GUIDE.

Already voted?

Please be sure to share these endorsements with everyone you know on Twitter and Facebook.

And join us tonight on Twitter (#vote4equalitync) and Facebook as we provide real-time updates on election results that matter to you, including North Carolina returns and the four states across the country fighting for the freedom to marry.

Thank you for your vote...and for fighting for Equality.

See you at the polls. #vote4equalitync

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Are You the 56%?

By Jen Jones on 11/05/2012 @ 08:05 PM

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This just in:

We're proud to announce that a whopping 56% of Equality NC supporters took advantage of early voting during the 2012 general election.

That means more than half of you have already staked your claim in this year's pivotal political process and hit the polls early to elect pro-equality candidates here in North Carolina.

For that we can't thank you enough. But we'll try...

To show our appreciation, we've extended our early bird registration rates for students and activists hoping to attend our 2012 Equality NC Foundation Conference & Gala on November 17, in Greensboro! REGISTER NOW.

And because we know so many of you have been focused on these all-important elections, we're also extending general registration to our C&G until Monday, November 12, at midnight. REGISTER NOW.

Remember: our annual C&G is not only the state's premier pro-equality event, it's also our moment to come together as a movement and work together to be the engaged (not to mention politically active) community we so clearly are!

This is our moment. Be a part of the movement. Register now for the this year's C&G.

Finally, if you're part of the 44% who has yet to vote, please, don't forget to cast your ballot TOMORROW, Tuesday, Nov. 6, using our our 2012 Equality NC Action Fund Voter Guide as your guide.

With your informed vote, you can not only join a majority of those invested in Equality, but help us work toward a pro-equality majority in our state's legislature, courts, city councils and county commissions.

P.S. Did we mention pro-equality legislative hopefuls Deb Butler and Susan Wilson will headline our keynote panel from the 2012 Equality NC Foundation Conference? Don't miss your chance to hear first-hand about their historic races. REGISTER NOW!

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It's Getting Nasty.

By Jen Jones on 10/28/2012 @ 10:05 PM

Anti-Equality forces are hard at work attacking North Carolina’s openly-lesbian candidates Susan Wilson (N.C. House, District 115, Buncombe County) and Deb Butler (N.C. Senate, District 9, New Hanover County.)

And it’s getting pretty nasty.

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Susan Wilson

We can’t let these attacks go unchallenged.

These are great candidates, running great campaigns. But they need your help.

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Deb Butler

Their important races, and those of other pro-Equality candidates, could not be closer, and the voters that will decide these elections are seeing ad after ad after ad, e-mail after e-mail, and mailer after mailer, personally attacking North Carolina’s pro-Equality candidates and jeopardizing our hopes to bring more fair-minded folks to the N.C. General Assembly.

Even great campaigns can lose to a cynical strategy in the end.

We've seen it happen.

So, please support these candidates however you can TODAY: donations, phone calls, or simply by casting your vote early and encouraging others to do so.

Because we can’t stop fighting for Equality now.

P.S. Did we mention Deb and Susan will headline our keynote panel from the 2012 Equality NC Foundation Conference? Don't miss your chance to hear about their historic races first-hand. REGISTER NOW!

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Action Alert: ADAP Funds in Jeopardy

By Jen Jones on 10/28/2012 @ 07:05 PM

From our friends at the North Carolina Aids Action Network (NCAAN), an URGENT action alert:

Kids need healthy families, too. That’s what Governor Perdue needs to hear from you.

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Help protect HIV medications for North Carolinians that need them.

Governor Perdue says she is going to use $5 million in projected unspent funds from the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to fund an expanded pre-kindergarten program.

But the AIDS Drug Assistance Program still needs to close its waiting list and re-expand its list of covered medications to include life-saving drugs for heart disease, diabetes, Hepatitis C, mental illness, and other conditions common for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Jeopardizing the well-being of one group of people to help another does no good.

Governor Perdue has supported the AIDS Drug Assistance Program in the past. People who it currently serves can expect to continue receiving their HIV medications. But without action by the Governor, we can expect the program to continue to provide a very limited list of medications. And we can expect a future where people once again have to be put on a waiting list before receiving the lifesaving drugs they need.

Can you email Governor Perdue and tell her kids need healthy families too?

P.S. Children need healthy parents as well as pre-K programs. Please ask the Governor to protect resources budgeted for HIV/AIDS care so that people living with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina can get immediate access to the full range of life-saving medications that they need.

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The Amendment One Victory You Didn't See.

By Jen Jones on 10/26/2012 @ 02:05 PM

I took the Amendment One loss as hard as anyone.

But this week I was privileged to see one of the most positive outcomes of the Amendment One fight when I joined the Mitchell County Gay-Straight Alliance in Bakersville, NC (pop. 347) as the group hosted over 100 people at a special reading of "8" the Play, from the Historic Courthouse in rural Bakersville. During the reading, 22 Mitchell County residents and friends read from transcripts of California's Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, the case that led to the overturning of Prop 8 and set the stage for what may happen to DOMA during the 2012-2013 term of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Mitchell County GSA's Amy Waller (l.) and Allison Bovée (r.)

Afterwards, the cast and Mitchell County GSA leaders Amy Waller (l.) and Allison Bovée (r.) received a warm standing ovation from the capacity crowd.

Twenty-two, pro-equality participants in the play. Why is that significant?

Because about that many people could be found picketing outside the Mitchell County GSA's first, small meeting in October 2011, many shouting anti-gay slurs and holding signs emblazoned with "THIS AIN'T ASHEVILLE."

The Historic Courthouse in Bakersville. Why is that significant?

That's where, two months later, Mitchell County GSA hosted the Bakersville RACE TO THE BALLOT event in January 2012, during which 120 residents from both sides of the Amendment One debate participated in an unprecedented, non-violent community forum on LGBT issues.

Mitchell County GSA's Allison Bovée & Amy Waller. Why are they significant?

In less than one year, they've taken the Mitchell County GSA, a group emboldened by the Amendment One fight, from a target of virulent anti-LGBT protests in a small Western community to *the* model for rural LGBT visibility and organizing in North Carolina.

Meet them and other pro-equality embodiments of our post-Amendment One efforts at the 2012 Equality NC Foundation Conference & Gala. REGISTER NOW.

Everyday North Carolina victories. From not-so-everyday North Carolinians.

All at this year's Equality NC Foundation Conference & Gala!

Remember, early bird rates will end this weekend, so please be sure to register for the C&G before then!

See you at the 2012 C&G!

P.S. To keep up with all the latest about this year's C&G, stay tuned at equalitync.org/conference.

Remember, early bird rates will end this weekend, so please be sure to register for the C&G before then!

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If you have any registration questions, please contact Josh at josh@equalitync.org. For questions about being a sponsor or table captain, email Kay at kay@equalitync.org. For questions about the conference, email Chris at chris@equalitync.org.

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Join Us at the C&G as We Present Our Inaugural Student Leadership Award!

By Jen Jones on 10/25/2012 @ 02:05 PM

Won't you join with us at this year's C&G (November 17, in Greensboro) to recognize all that our student leaders did this year to fight Amendment One? Many, like our first Student Leadership Award-winner Sammi Kiley, organized out-of-the-box, get-out-the-vote events on campuses we visited as we ran across the state on our Race to the Ballot, and watched young people transformed into LGBT leaders of tomorrow by the fight against Amendment One. Registration is open, so please mark your calendar right now to join us for this historic event on Saturday, November 17, 2012, in Greensboro!

Click here for all the latest info about this year's event and get ready to register! Please also share this link with all your friends!

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Remember, early bird rates will end this weekend, so please be sure to register for the C&G before then!

To keep up with all the latest about this year's C&G, stay tuned at equalitync.org/conference.

Rev. Barber, Rep. Larry Hall, this year's Bob Page Equality Champions, and now Sammi Kiley...we absolutely can't wait to see everyone!

If you have any registration questions, please contact Josh at josh@equalitync.org. For questions about being a sponsor or table captain, email Kay at kay@equalitync.org. For questions about the conference, email Chris at chris@equalitync.org.

PS, this year's winner, Salem College's Samantha "Sammi" Kiley will not only receive Inaugural Student Leadership Award from this year's Gala, but will be a part of the unprecedented youth-focused workshops from this year's Conference lineup!

More about Sammi:

Equality NC Foundation Student Leadership Award Winner, Sammi Kiley

Equality NC Foundation Student Leadership Award Winner, Sammi Kiley

As a proud Salem College woman, Samantha "Sammi" Kiley is a leading advocate for equality on campus and in the community. Sammi first became deeply involved with Equality NC Foundation through RACE TO THE BALLOT, an education and engagement effort that empowered students to take action against Amendment One on their campuses. Not only did this Equality NC Student Ambassador work collaboratively to organize the Winston-Salem anti-Amendment One kickoff event, she also worked for six months with students at Salem College and other area campuses and faith-based organizations, building up to a massive get-out-the-vote effort that registered and turned out a record number of students for our Amendment One fight.

Sammi worked tirelessly to mobilize student support for the Salem College student government to pass a resolution in strong opposition to Amendment One. She became a local voice for the campaign, speaking out about LGBTQ issues through an array of media outlets, and was able to hold her own as a young queer woman during a live televised panel among leading pro-Amendment advocates. She also led the effort to pass a resolution against Amendment One through the Winston-Salem City Council through meetings with council members and Mayor Allen Joines.

Sammi is now starting a new year--her junior year--at Salem leading get-out-the-vote efforts for pro-equality candidates and has already started working to effectuate fully-inclusive employment non-discrimination in her Triad city in the hopes that students like her won't have to go back into the closet when they enter the workforce.

“Though Amendment One passed, the education and opportunities that arose empowered me and the youth voice in the equality movement. I witnessed young people question and develop their views in a transformative way that created an atmosphere of love in the community around me, even in places that were not expected," says Sammi. "I am so honored to be part of Equality NC Foundation. They have given me the resources and the platform to develop my leadership, and the direction to continue in the fight for equality that will ultimately be won.” If you can attend one event this year, this is it!

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Second Circuit Opens Door to Strike Down DOMA

By Jen Jones on 10/20/2012 @ 01:12 PM

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit shot down the Defense of Marriage Act’s Section 3, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The October 18th decision followed a similar May ruling by the First Circuit striking down Section 3 as unconstitutional, and, as The Wall Street Journal reports, could lay the groundwork for a Supreme Court decision striking down the federal DOMA.

Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court will likely hear case on marriage equality in the 2012-2012 term.

As the Wall Street Journal's Joe Palazzolo writes:

"The decision followed a May ruling by the First Circuit striking down Section 3 as unconstitutional.

But the Second Circuit ruling is a very different animal, and at least one legal scholar says it could provide the Supreme Court with a manual on how to knock down the law. The Supreme Court has been asked to review the First Circuit case, as well as a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage.

By carving out gays and lesbians as a special class, the Second Circuit said courts must apply more scrutiny to laws affecting the group. Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush and darling of the Federalist Society, authored the majority opinion. He was joined by Judge Christopher F. Droney, an Obama appointee. Judge Chester Straub, a Clinton appointee dissented. As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, Judge Jacobs ruled that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny by the federal bench. If the law isn’t substantially related to an important government interest, it fails the test. (Whether he got it right is another matter. For arguments against, check out Ed Whalen’s post at Bench Memos.)

The First Circuit, in striking down DOMA, held that the government needed only show it had a rational basis for enacting the law. Because the government couldn’t do that, according to the First Circuit said, DOMA is unconstitutional. That’s broad.

The main difference between the two rulings is Judge Jacobs’s holding that gays and lesbians are a part of “a quasi-suspect class” because they aren’t “in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”

“Once he’s taken this step, it is quite clear that the federal government is going to lose. While there is little question that DOMA would satisfy traditional rational basis scrutiny…it is hard to argue that the federal government has an important interest in refusing to recognize” same-sex marriages, wrote Jonathan H. Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, at the Volokh Conspiracy.

States may be able to make a better argument that laws banning gay marriage serve an important government interest, because family law is the traditional province of state government, said Mr. Adler said, who supports gay marriage.

If the Supreme Court adopted the Second Circuit’s view that homosexuals are part of a quasi-suspect class, the justices could strike down DOMA without taking state prohibitions on gay marriage down with it.

“I think Judge Jacobs’ opinion makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will strike down Section 3 of DOMA when this issue finally comes before the Court,” Professor Adler wrote. “Indeed, the opinion provides a roadmap for a fairly minimalist holding against DOMA of the sort the current court might embrace."

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Are You Registered, NC?

By Jen Jones on 10/10/2012 @ 05:05 PM

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Heads up!

The deadline to register by mail or online to vote in NC is this Friday, October 12th.* 

Here's what that means: You, your friends, your family, your fans and followers, everyone you know in North Carolina needs to register -- RIGHT NOW!

Registering to vote is SO incredibly easy.

It's only a few minutes out of the day. And we've made it even easier.

In fact, we've partnered with our friends at ROCK THE VOTE to provide a quick and simple way to register online (that you can share with your friends too.)

There's so much at stake for our state this year:

Incumbent legislators who fought against Amendment One and new pro-equality politicians all need your vote to move North Carolina forward. Remember: every vote for a pro-equality candidate counts toward more leaders fighting for Equality here at home.

Thanks -- now let's get to work.

*Don't forget same-day registration at one-stop sites | Early voting begins October 18th! .

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Anti-LGBT Forces Target Pro-Equality Candidates

By Jen Jones on 10/08/2012 @ 05:05 PM

Tags: Anti-LGBT Forces Target Pro-Equality Candidates

Anti-LGBT forces are targeting pro-equality candidates we’ve endorsed in key North Carolina Election 2012 races. And we need your help.

  • NC Senatorial candidate John McDevitt has been targeted by anti-equality forces using a misleading and homophobic mailer sent to voters in Burke and Cleveland Counties where McDevitt faces pro-Amendment One incumbent Warren Daniel. After a 37-year law enforcement career, McDevitt retired to seek the 46th Senate seat against one-term incumbent and Amendment One supporter Sen. Warren Daniel. While Mr. McDevitt’s touts core values that revolve around family, faith, hard work and independence, he says to him, "these values mean helping a neighbor in need, working together for the good of the community, treating others with respect and dignity and standing up for what you believe is right, even when it is not the popular thing to do." McDevitt openly opposed Amendment One.
Anti-LGBT Flyer Targeting John McDevitt

Portion of anti-LGBT mailer targeting pro-equality candidate John McDevitt.

According to the Mountain Xpress:

In the wake of the Sept. 19 incident, Moffitt implied that the tweet was the result of efforts by his political enemies to discredit him....Moffitt's Democratic opponent, Jane Whilden, said she had no idea who might've been behind the incident. "I had nothing to do with it. I don't know how to tweet, and I don't want to," she said, noting that her campaign manager administers her Twitter account. "I'm a face-to-face person." As for the message itself, she continued, "It was inappropriate, it was horrible, it was wrong."

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Anti-LGBT tweets from Tim Moffitt's Twitter account.

  • One of the most vocal opponents of Amendment One, House incumbent Rick Glazier of Cumberland County has been consistently attacked not only for his stance against the discriminatory constitutional rewrite, but also on the basis of his religion.

    Glazier, who is Jewish, confirmed that his opponent Richard Button, who touts values based on a "Biblical Worldview" is currently circulating mailers claiming he is the "only Christian" in the race for House District 44.
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Richard Button's mailer targets Rick Glazier's opposition to Amendment One.

  • Lt. Gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest has now targeted Equality NC pick Linda Coleman in a strange new video in which he and former conservative presidential candidate Mike Huckabee nosh on notoriously anti-gay Chick-fil-A as they encourage North Carolinians to "just vote your values."

    Coleman, who quit her job in state government to run for the state's No. 2 post, was one of the first state politicians to publicly oppose Amendment One.

    Read more here: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/mike_huckabee_and_dan_forest_love_them_some_chikfila#storylink=cpy

These same forces have gone so far as to call Equality NC, your statewide LGBT advocacy organization, an “extremist” group; have spread misleading messages that candidates who opposed Amendment One are “seeking special rights” instead of simply fighting discrimination; and demanded North Carolinians vote against candidates who support the LGBT community.

They’ve gone too far. Don’t let them attack our friends.

DONATE NOW to Equality NC Action Fund’s payback challenge so together we can support the pro-equality candidates who support all North Carolinians.

See anti-LGBT messaging circulating in political mailers, tweets and candidates posts? Let us know. Email jen@equalitync.org.

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