Asheville, N.C. (December 19, 2012) – LGBT couples will request – and be denied – marriage licenses in their hometowns across the South during January of 2013 as the next stage of the WE DO Campaign, a project of the Campaign for Southern Equality. During these actions elected officials, family members and neighbors will stand in support of the couples, and clergy will lead a prayer service for reconciliation. The purpose of the WE DO Campaign is to call for full equality under federal law and to resist unjust state laws that prohibit marriage equality across the South.
The schedule of WE DO events in January 2013:
January 2 – Hattiesburg, Mississippi
January 4 – Mobile, Alabama
January 7 – Decatur, Georgia
January 9 – Morristown, Tennessee
January 11 – Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina
January 14 – Wilson, North Carolina and Winston-Salem, North Carolina
January 17 – Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
These actions will take place across a region that many have written off as unwinnable territory for LGBT rights because of the current legal and political climate in Southern states.
“As LGBT people in the South we are often told our choices are to move to another state where legal rights are granted or wait some indefinite period of time until state law changes. LGBT people in Alabama, Mississippi and other Southern states simply cannot wait the 20 or 30 years it may take for them to become full and equal citizens. Fundamental civil rights such as marriage and freedom from employment and housing discrimination must be granted to all citizens of the United States regardless of which state they reside in,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
On January 17th, following the action in Arlington, VA, LGBT couples and supporters from across the South will march to Washington, D.C. where Mark Maxwell and Tim Young, a couple from North Carolina will be legally wed.
Rev. Beach-Ferrara also says, “LGBT individuals and families live in every city and town the South, yet do so as second-class citizens. The people taking part in the WE DO Campaign are standing up to say, we are equal and discriminatory laws must change on the federal level.”
The WE DO Campaign began in Asheville, North Carolina in 2011. To date, 38 couples in 10 towns and cities across North and South Carolina have sought marriage licenses as part of the WE DO Campaign. Until full federal equality is achieved, the Campaign for Southern Equality will continue to grow the WE DO Campaign across the South.
The following individuals are available for interviews:
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality
Based in the South, the Campaign for Southern Equality is a national effort to assert the full humanity and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in American life and to increase public support for LGBT rights.