by Mariah Parker, Multimedia Editor
On Monday, September 15, Senate Bill 514 passed in both the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate. This so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” confines marriage rights, privileges and responsibilities to couples consisting of one man and one woman.
Visit www.equalitync.org to find out more.
On Friday, September 16, organized by EMPOWER and The Writing Center and facilitated by seniors Thomas Belmore, Charlotte Mitchell, and Elizabeth Creech and sophomore Beau Ohlgren, facilitated an action meeting in Canon Lounge concerning Senate Bill 514.
“We wanted to catch the energy and anger early.” says Belmore. “We felt it was important to have a quick response [to the bill].”
During the first half of the meeting, facilitators summarized the contents of the bill and its potential impact on same-sex couples.
Those privileges barred could include the right to visit a loved one in the hospital, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their incapacitated partners, funeral and burial decisions, inheritance rights and access to government benefits, such as Social Security and government medical care.
During the second half of the meeting, facilitators opened the floor for discussion and passed around an interest list for individuals concerned with staying involved in the issue.
Organizers collected over 42 names for the interest list.
On Monday, September 26, volunteers met with Equality NC organizers at the Service Learning office for a phone bank session. Volunteers called registered voters across North Caroliina to raise awareness about the issue and elicit support.
“We had a lot of people coming in and out,” said Belmore. “There were about 10-20 volunteers in attendance.”
Belmore and other student organizers still seek volunteers to do publicity, assist with childcare during meetings, and take leadership roles.
“There’s still a lot of room for people to get involved,” said Belmore.
Equality NC will continue to organize monthly phone bank sessions and other resistance efforts through May. “The republicans have a primary vote in May but the democrats don’t,” said Equality NC organizer Lee Crayton. “It’s apart of our uphill battle.”