Through our Legal Equality Project, the Campaign for Southern Equality works across the South to strike down anti-LGBTQ laws, promote pro-LGBTQ policies, and promote policies that support racial equity, economic justice and immigration reform. In our current political climate, we’re part of rapid response organizing coalitions working on issues of LGBTQ rights, racial equity, immigration reform and health care access for all.
We’re working to build political power over the long term. We use tactics including litigation, organizing, voter registration and turnout, and storytelling.
The feeling of LGBT Southerners being left to fend for themselves was the impetus for the Asheville, N.C.-based Campaign for Southern Equality, a scrappy five-year-old organization that’s been racking up impressive wins, even in an environment that feels increasingly hostile to queer rights.
Litigation: We have worked on federal lawsuits that successfully struck down marriage equality bans in North Carolina and Mississippi and the same-sex adoption ban in Mississippi. We have also been involved in challenges to HB1523 in Mississippi and SB2 in North Carolina; both anti-LGBTQ laws are currently in effect.
Our federal court cases include:
- Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant I (Marriage Equality in MS)
- Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant II (Adoption in MS)
- Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant III (HB 1523 in MS)
- General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Reisinger (Marriage Equality in NC)
- Ansley v. Warren (SB2 in NC)
Marriage Equality in the South: From 2011 to 2015, CSE was on the frontlines of efforts to win marriage equality in the South using an innovative blend of direct action, public education and litigation. We led the WE DO Campaign, which involved LGBTQ couples requesting – and being denied – marriage licenses in their hometowns, from Wilson, NC, to Morristown, TN, to Poplarville, MS. We were honored to be part of the lawsuits that struck down marriage bans in North Carolina and Mississippi, as well as the lawsuit striking down an adoption ban in Mississippi.