CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Like millions of others across the U.S., LGBT community members and their families and friends across the Carolinas are awaiting this week’s potential Supreme Court opinions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. The Court is expected to issue those opinions after hearing oral arguments earlier this spring. The decisions could come as soon as Tuesday.
Several rallies and meetings have been planned across the Carolinas. Some groups are planning to rally the day the Supreme Court issues its opinions. You can see a list of demonstrations and meetings at the end of this article.
In Columbia, SC Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson said the impending decision on DOMA will personally affect him and his husband, Shehan Welihindha. Wilson and Welihindha met in 2008. In January, they were legally married in Maryland, Wilson’s home state. Born in Sri Lanka, Welihindha attended middle and high school in Dubai before coming to the U.S. for college. (Be sure to read our Aug. 22, 2009, cover story on the couple.)
DOMA restricts federal recognition of Wilson’s and Welihindha’s marriage, preventing Wilson from sponsoring Wilihinda as a heterosexual person might sponsor his or her spouse for immigration purposes.
“We were just looking at the marriage certificate on the wall,” Wilson said. “If DOMA is struck down, that becomes instantly a more legally binding document for us, particularly for Shehan’s immigration purposes.”
Wilson added, “In South Carolina, we feel [the certificate] is sometimes more decoration than legally binding.”
If the Court’s decision is favorable, Wilson said he could begin the immigration sponsorship process for his husband.
“It will mean we can finally stop having to wait for what is next,” Wilson said. “We would definitely move forward with the immigration sponsorship for him.”
The Supreme Court is set to meet again and deliver opinions on Tuesday at 10 a.m. If necessary, it could meet again Wednesday or Thursday. The DOMA and Proposition 8 cases could come on any of those days or be punted into another term.
Stay tuned to qnotes for more updates.
‘Decision Day’ rallies and gatherings
Thursday, June 27, 6:30 p.m.
Campaign for Southern Equality will host an informal potluck gathering to discuss the DOMA and Proposition 8 rulings and how they relate to the South. They’ll also share how you can be a part of the next stage of their WE DO Campaign, taking place in Mississippi in July.
Day of Decision, 5:30 p.m.
Independence Square, Trade & Tryon Sts.
CRANE (Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality) will host an awareness rally at Independence Square (Trade & Tryon Sts.) on whichever day the Supreme Court issues its opinion, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Updates from the group on its event page.
Day of Decision
SC Equality will host an event on the day of decision. Stay tuned to the event page for updates.
Day of Decision, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Equality NC will host a Decision Day event. More details to be announced on the event page.
Thursday, June 27, 6-9 p.m.
Golden Corral, Wilson, N.C.
Democracy North Carolina will hold a dinner meeting with a video presentation.
Day of Decision, 6:30 p.m.
Winston Square park Amphitheater
Stay tuned to event page for event date/day of decision.
[Ed. Note — This writer is a co-organizer of the rally in Charlotte.]