CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four LGBT education and advocacy organizations in North and South Carolina have signed on to a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting full marriage equality. The brief, written by attorneys from the Utah Pride Center and the Asheville, N.C.-based Campaign for Southern Equality, has been presented ahead of the Supreme Court’s scheduled hearing of cases challenging California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Other groups joining the brief include Equality North Carolina, South Carolina Equality and the Palmetto State’s Gender Benders.
“The Supreme Court is being asked to consider a fundamental question: are LGBT Americans equal people whose humanity and dignity must be recognized,” the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Campaign for Southern Equality executive director, said in a release. “In every city and town across the South we know there are LGBT youth, adults and families who urgently need — and desire — the rights and protections that our Constitution promises to all, including the ability to marry the person you love. The current lack of legal protections harms individuals and families across the South.”
The brief was filed on Wednesday and urges the Supreme Court to “dismantle…systems of discrimination.”
It reads, in part, “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.”
South Carolina Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson said the Supreme Court’s upcoming cases on marriage equality represents his state’s “best hope for marriage equality.”
“Given the current political climate, it is difficult for us to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in South Carolina through the General Assembly and our governor, so it is important for SC Equality to pursue other avenues,” Wilson said in a release. “Whether through legislative channels, working municipal and county level, or through the court system, SC Equality will continue to fight for a South Carolina where Equal Means Everyone!”
Equality North Carolina Executive Director Stuart Campbell said the upcoming cases represent an opportunity for the Supreme Court to rectify a wrong that affects citizens across the country.
“The fact of the matter is that gays and lesbians live in every state in the nation, including North Carolina,” Campbell said in a release. “We are your neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family and we expect to be treated equally. We directly call upon the Supreme Court to acknowledge that we should not be second class citizens in our home states.”
Oral arguments in the cases will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 26 and March 27. A ruling could be delivered as soon as this summer.
The organizations joining the brief include: Campaign for Southern Equality
Equality Federation, Equality Alabama, Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality, Equality Arizona, Equality Florida, Georgia Equality, Add the Words (Idaho), Indiana Equality Action, Kansas Equality Coalition, Kentucky Equality Federation, Forum for Equality Louisiana, Equality Michigan, Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition, Montana Human Rights Network, Equality North Carolina, Ohio Equality, Oklahomans for Equality, The Equality Network, South Carolina Equality, Gender Benders (South Carolina), Tennessee Equality Project, Equality Texas, Utah Pride Center (lead author), Equality Virginia, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, Fair Wisconsin, Wyoming Youth Proud.