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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Equality NC: "Enormous victory" over federal DOMA, but discrimination remains the rule in N.C.

Posted by on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM

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  • Equality NC

[Update, 1:45 p.m.: Feel like celebrating? Equality NC is hosting a Decision Day event tonight in Raleigh:

TIME AND DATE:
Wednesday, June 26, at 8 PM
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
1801 Hillsborough St Raleigh, NC 27605

Still much to do in North Carolina.]

Equality North Carolina, the LGBT rights group, has a statement out about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today that makes two good points: (1) The wicked witch called DOMA is dead, and (2) its death matters most in states where same-sex unions are recognized — but North Carolina, because of Amendment One, is prevented from recognizing them.

[I've added the other side's view of it below — a statement by Tami Fitzgerald of the NC Values Coalition, which is pro-Amendment One and anti-gay marriage.]

As Equality NC says:

For thousands of married lesbian and gay couples, today’s ruling means that they can better protect one another and their children because they will finally be included in the federal safety net of rights and benefits afforded married couples.

Nevertheless, for those legally married same-sex couples who have moved to — or now live in — a state such as North Carolina that discriminates against their marriages, legal experts believe access to those federal marital protections may still be in question.

“For most of the federal benefits that people think about when they talk about marriage, the government will only recognize a marriage if it is legal in the state where the couple lives,” said UNC Law Professor Holning Lau in his recent article, “Same Sex Marriage and States Like Mine” (http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/same-sex-marriage-and-states-like-mine.)

To take one obvious example, I don't think a same-sex couple living in North Carolina but married, say, in New York, will be able to file federal income tax returns and check the "married filing jointly" box.

Although they can certainly try, and that may be the next test case for the courts.

If they tried to file as married for state income tax purposes, Amendment One would undoubtedly cause the N.C. Department of Revenue to say no, you're not.

***

Here's the full Equality NC statement:


Raleigh, N.C. — Equality NC, North Carolina’s statewide Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, today responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in U.S. v. Windsor to strike down Section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” or DOMA.

The ruling means all legally married couples, including same-sex couples, should also be treated as married by the federal government. Same-sex couples who are married and living in one of the 12 states recognizing same-sex marriages, or the District of Columbia, will now be eligible for the federal protections and responsibilities afforded all other married couples.

“This is an enormous victory and a joyous day for loving, married couples and their families — and for equal justice under the law,” said Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC. “Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that all loving and committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment.”
Since its enactment in 2006, DOMA’s two-tiered system for marriage was a radical departure from the way in which the United States had always treated the institution, forcing the federal government to pick and choose among marriages and discriminate against certain types of families, creating a “gay exception” that caused pain, uncertainty, and financial harm.

For thousands of married lesbian and gay couples, today’s ruling means that they can better protect one another and their children because they will finally be included in the federal safety net of rights and benefits afforded married couples.

Nevertheless, for those legally married same-sex couples who have moved to — or now live in — a state such as North Carolina that discriminates against their marriages, legal experts believe access to those federal marital protections may still be in question.

“For most of the federal benefits that people think about when they talk about marriage, the government will only recognize a marriage if it is legal in the state where the couple lives,” said UNC Law Professor Holning Lau in his recent article, “Same Sex Marriage and States Like Mine” (http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/same-sex-marriage-and-states-like-mine.)

Campbell added, “With this decision adding to a tidal wave of momentum for marriage, we will continue working to win the freedom to marry here at home by pursuing the same strategy that has brought us to this historic day: growing a majority of support for marriage equality — as well as all forms of LGBT equality - in North Carolina.”

Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.

And, from the political right, this is from Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition:


"Today the Supreme Court upheld the right of states to determine marriage policy. The Supreme Court did not declare a universal right to same-sex marriage, and it did not strike down Prop 8—California’s marriage amendment. We are thankful that North Carolina's marriage amendment is not immediately impacted by the ruling. Citizens in the 50 states are still free to debate, discuss, and defend marriage.

"We did the right thing in passing our Marriage Amendment last year, and North Carolina has one of the strongest marriage amendments in the country.

"However, the Supreme Court got it wrong. On the federal DOMA case, the Supreme Court got federalism wrong. Congress should have the authority to define marriage for federal programs just as states do. On Prop 8, the Court got it wrong because the people of California went to the ballot box twice to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and they should have the right to defend their own law.

"The Supreme Court's ruling does not impact North Carolina's marriage amendment or the 36 other states that have protected marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A little over a year ago, 61% of the voters in our state passed our marriage amendment, expressing their will at the ballot box through the democratic process. If there are any future challenges to North Carolina's marriage amendment, it is the job of our Attorney General, under the state's Constitution, to defend it."

Monday, June 10, 2013

More on Randy Voller: Raleigh's Nina Szlosberg-Landis, 1st vice chair, resigns in protest

Posted by on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Randy Voller at the June 3 Mega Moral Monday protest at the General Assembly. - FILE PHOTO BY BOB GEARY
  • File photo by Bob Geary
  • Randy Voller at the June 3 Mega Moral Monday protest at the General Assembly.

While Randy Voller was elected chairman of the state Democratic Party in February by a narrow margin — just 11 votes out of some 600 — the newly elected first vice chair, Nina Szlosberg-Landis of Raleigh, won by a landslide. The combination of Voller, the grassroots guy, and Szlosberg-Landis, who combines big-time fundraising experience with a progressive resume in women's and environmental politics, was a hopeful sign to those wondering if the two warring wings of the Democratic Party could be brought together.

(I wrote about Voller and the warring wings in Citizen last week.)

If Voller and Slzosberg-Landis could work as a team — and they pledged to do so — then maybe the deep rift within the party could be healed. That was my thought, anyway.

Tonight, though, Szlosberg-Landis announced her resignation. In a letter to state Democratic executive committee members, she said donors "are not comfortable" with Voller and won't part with their money while he remains chairman.

She wrote separately to her friends, in part:

I have been very concerned about the direction and practices of the new Chairman. You have likely heard or read about some of the more public missteps, and I felt that I could not accomplish the work I know needs to be done if I remained associated with him. However, I firmly believe we all MUST continue to support our Democratic candidates and the organizations that can most effectively support them. I will be working as hard as I ever have to that end. As a matter of fact, I am currently raising money for the NC House Caucus which works directly to elect Democrats to the General Assembly. I am raising money for the DSCC, which is supporting Kay Hagan’s campaign. And I am hosting a fundraiser in New Hanover County to support the county party there; which is a legislative district we CAN win in 2014. And I am doing this all within the next five weeks!

And of course, I will re-engage working with Lillian’s List to elect pro-choice Democratic woman to the legislature, and the NC League of Conservation voters which elects pro-environment candidates to the NC General Assembly.

"I have a very heavy heart because I really believed I could help rebuild the NCDP from within," Szlosberg-Landis added. "But I know now, I can do more for Democrats through independently working to recruit, train and raise resources for our candidates. We simply must win in 2014 ..."

***

The two wings are farther apart than ever. One thinks party resources should be devoted to building the party's grassroots infrastructure — an indirect route to winning elections. The other is focused on identifying winnable elections right now, and on getting resources to the candidates, and campaign managers, who can win them.

Ideally, both things would be done. But with Democrats literally scraping for funds, ideally isn't a useful starting point.

  • Pin It
    (Bonus feature: The comments section.) A leader in the party's environmental and women's ranks no longer wants to be associated with Voller.

Who's the moron? Sen. Thom Goolsby on the protests he calls "Moron Mondays"

Posted by on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

He's keen to start executing people again in NC, and he sneers at the concept of racial justice. In fact, sneering at black people seems like it's a specialty of state Sen. Thom Goolsby:


Click on the link within the tweet to read it all.

Here's an excerpt:

The circus came to the State Capitol this week, complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow. The “Reverend” Barber was decked out like a prelate of the Church of Rome (no insult is meant to Catholics), complete with stole and cassock. All he was missing was a miter and the ensemble would have been complete.

Several hundred people — mostly white, angry, aged former hippies — appeared and screeched into microphones, talked about solidarity and chanted diatribes. It was “liberal theater” at its best. Just like having a honey bun and double espresso for breakfast, the impact of it all left the participants jittery and empty in the end.

Never short on audacity, the Loony Left actually named their gathering “Moral Monday.” Between the screaming, foot stomping and disjointed speeches, it appeared more like “Moron Monday.” The gathering was supposed to influence legislators. However, no one thought to bring out any senate or house member from either party.

Goolsby is wrong, of course, to say no other legislators were present for the protest. I recall seeing several, including Mike Woodard, Pricey Harrison and Earline Parmley, and I'm sure there were others.

But why let the facts stand in the way of a uninformed diatribe?

  • Pin It
    Want to know how a typical NC Republican state senator thinks? (Irony alert re: "thinks.")

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No, no, no. You don't understand. Thom wasn't "misleading investors." He was just "letting the free market work."

by VirgilCane on State shuts down Sen. Thom ("I call them Moron Mondays") Goolsby's investment biz. (Citizen)

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