By: Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
Last Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear state appeals in support of a ban on same-sex marriage. This decision paved the way for the expansion of same sex marriages in states where a ban was put into place. The decision was based on the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution which grants citizenship rights and equal protection under the law. On Friday, a North Carolina judge ruled that our ban was unconstitutional under this ruling.
Immediately, several counties announced that the Registers of Deeds would stay open and offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples seeking marriage.
This decision brought back memories of how hard our social work membership fought the Marriage Amendment One in 2012. NASW-NC staff assisted members seeking to help with get out the vote messaging and work at the polls on Election Day by providing materials against the ban to voters. You showed up at rallies across the state. You educated others. You held events at local universities to help get the word out. You attended our press conference with other behavioral health professionals to urge the North Carolina General Assembly to stop the legislation that created the amendment on the ballot. Though we were unsuccessful in fighting the the measure, you never stopped talking about the discrimination it caused. You supported clients through the vote and helped them get back on their feet after the amendment passed.
Sometimes policy in our state takes ten steps back. On Friday, we retook those steps and moved forward in our state. Today, we join in celebration with our friends at Equality NC for Day One NC. Be sure to tweet and Facebook your pictures with the hashtag: #dayonenc. Send them to us! We love sharing pictures from members! Let us know why this day is so important to you! While we still have a ways to go on policy decisions in our state such as protections for GLBTQ persons in the workplace, we are certainly celebrating this victory today.
Thank you for practicing, as a social worker, under the Code of Ethics and for standing up for discrimination policies and helping GLBTQ citizens in our state be comfortable and feel loved for who they are. Be sure to join our GLBTQ Practice Area Network for news, resources, and more!