Updated coverage: Local gay rights vigils mark landmark marriage cases (Photo Gallery)
Originally posted: March 26, 2013, 8:43 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2013, 11:34 a.m.
CHARLOTTE — Community members will gather tonight for special vigils marking the beginning of oral arguments in landmark same-sex marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court today. Fourteen vigils were planned across North Carolina and South Carolina over the weekend and through this evening, including events in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Columbia, Charleston and elsewhere.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a case challenging California’s Proposition 8, that state’s constitutional amendment banning gay couples from marriage. On Wednesday, the court will hear a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. It’s the first time the Supreme Court has taken up the same-sex marriage question and its ruling, which could come as early as June, could put an end to anti-gay marriage bans across the nation.
The local vigils, organized nationally by the United for Marriage coalition, are designed to showcase the broad support for LGBT marriage equality.
Nine events are planned across the region on Tuesday, organized statewide by LGBT advocacy groups like Equality North Carolina and South Carolina Equality. Local groups, like Asheville’s Coalition for Southern Equality and Charleston’s Alliance For Full Acceptance, are also organizing the vigils.
Charlotte’s vigil is slated for 7 p.m. at Uptown’s Marshall Park. Speakers will include Bishop Tonyia Rawls from Unity Fellowship Church in Charlotte, as well as music from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and Unity Fellowship Church Choir. Links to the Facebook event for Charlotte’s vigil and other vigils across the region are included below.
Supporters of marriage equality are being encouraged to wear red during the oral arguments at the court. Several organizations, including, most iconically, the Human Rights Campaign, have also shaded their logos red today. qnotes has also changed its logo in support of full marriage equality.
The Supreme Court’s hearing of the two marriage cases comes 10 months after North Carolina passed its anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment making opposite-sex marriage the “only domestic legal union…valid or recognized” in the state. If the court rules broadly, such amendments could be overturned nationwide. If the court rules narrowly, California’s ban could be overturned and federal discrimination would end against gay couples in states where marriage is currently legal.
[Ed. Note — The list below has been updated. Some events were scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday and have already passed, including events in Fayetteville, Winston-Salem, Wilson, Greenville, S.C., and Charleston. All events below occur on Tuesday, March 26. We regret the error.]
Regional marriage vigils: North Carolina