Yesterday, advocates in North Carolina launched the Coalition to Protect All NC Families, a campaign working to defeat a proposed constitutional ban on marriage equality in the state. The ban, known as Amendment One, would not only deny same-sex couples marriage, but would strip all unmarried couples of many legal protections, such as those afforded by domestic partnerships and civil unions. In response, numerous individuals and organizations, including elected officials, faith leaders, and businesses, have come together to speak to the importance of maintaining the legal protections currently given to unmarried couples and their families.
At a press conference in Raleigh, passionate speeches were given by NC State House Minority Whip, Rick Glazier, Rev. T. Anthony Spearman of AME Zion Church, and co-director of Southerners on New Ground, Caitlin Breedlove. Breedlove’s story was particularly moving, as she spoke of her and her partner’s efforts to raise their young daughter with a sense of pride in their family, and how this is undermined by the discriminatory Amendment One. An ad produced by the Coalition to Protect All NC Families articulates the specific changes Amendment One would create – difficulty in maintaining child custody, loss of domestic partner health benefits, fewer protections against domestic violence – and the significant impact they would have on day-to-day life.
Though lesbian and gay couples in North Carolina do not receive the full protections of marriage at this time, defeating Amendment One would safeguard the possibility of marriage equality in the future. The Coalition to Protect All NC Families is encouraging people to volunteer, attend an event, share their stories, or simply have a conversation to help ensure important legal protections that help keep North Carolina families safe remain in place.