CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An Asheville, N.C.-based grassroots group says it will continue its series of direct actions challenging anti-gay marriage laws across the South, even as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling today striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) will head to Mississippi in July, pushing on with its WE DO campaign. Its activists include same-sex couples who will request — and be denied — marriage licenses in town clerk offices. Past demonstrations have included instances of civil disobedience and arrest.
The group also plans to promote further legislation by reaching out to local governments, offering free legal clinics and crisis response services, among other methods.
“Today’s rulings are historic and undoubtedly something to celebrate,” CSE Executive Director Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrera told qnotes. “They shine a light on on a reality that LGBT people across the South lack basic rights.”
Beach-Ferrera says that the CSE will continue to push to achieve full equality for LGBT people in the South.
“Fundamental civil rights such as marriage and protection from discrimination in employment and housing must be granted to all citizens of the United States regardless of which state they call home,” Beach-Ferrera said in an earlier emailed statement. “Same-sex families living in the South lack basic legal protections, which result in harm and suffering; we will keep working to achieve equal rights for LGBT people in the South as quickly as possible.”
The historic events of today’s Supreme Court session have served to provide extra momentum for grassroots activism like the WE DO campaign.
“These rulings represent two significant steps forward in our nation’s journey to equal rights for LGBT people,” Beach-Ferrera said the statement. “As we continue to advocate for same-sex marriage and full LGBT equality in the South, these rulings give us hope.”