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LGBT Rights

The ACLU's LGBT Project works for an America free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This means an America where LGBT people can live openly, where identities, relationships and families are respected, and where there is fair treatment on the job, in schools, housing, public places, health care, and government programs. 

Tell the House: Don't Remove LGBT Protections

Posted on in LGBT Rights

Anti-LGBT extremists in the General Assembly are at it again. This time they are threatening to call a $42,000-a-day special legislative session in order to override Charlotte's recently passed nondiscrimination ordinance, which protects LGBT people and others from discrimination in public accommodations.

Tell your House representative to oppose the special session and support laws that extend equal treatment to LGBT North Carolinians!

Charlotte's ordinance means that businesses open to the public must be equally accessible to LGBT individuals and cannot discriminate against anyone simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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The ACLU of North Carolina's Liberty Awards on April 2 is our annual opportunity to recognize exemplary individuals and organizations for their work to promote civil liberties in North Carolina. We're so excited to announce that our first award recipient is Southerners on New Ground (SONG), who we'll present with the 2016 Sharon Thompson Award, for extraordinary efforts to advance equality for the LGBTQ community.

SONG is a regional queer liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town people, and LGBTQ people in the South.  The organization uses community organizing to build collective power, transform the South, and build freedom movements rooted in southern traditions. Its work strives to bring together marginalized communities to work toward justice and liberation for all people.

SONG has worked alongside the ACLU-NC on many campaigns for equality, and we're thrilled to present them with this year's Sharon Thompson Award.

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One Year After Marriage Equality in NC

Posted on in LGBT Rights

One year ago today, same-sex couples in North Carolina won the freedom to marry the person they love.

Many people contributed to that incredible victory. But the most important of all were the families who had the courage and conviction to serve as plaintiffs in the legal challenges the ACLU and others brought against North Carolina's discriminatory marriage ban.

Please join us in thanking the families who served as plaintiffs in our marriage lawsuits and helped expand freedom and equality for thousands of North Carolinians.

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Victory Protecting Local LGBT Nondiscrimination Laws

Posted on in LGBT Rights

Earlier this week, under cover of night, and less than 48 hours away from the close of the nine month legislative session, members of the General Assembly attempted—once again—to sanction discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians.  A provision negotiated in secret by a group of appointed House and Senate members was inserted into SB 279, an unrelated bill on licensing requirements for counselors, and would have stripped local governments of their ability to pass ordinances protecting LGBT residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  In the waning hours of the legislative session, the ACLU and our allies worked tirelessly to educate both members of the General Assembly and the public about the devastating discriminatory consequences of such a law.  A broad coalition that included civil rights groups, faith leaders, and local governments came together to stand up and fight—and today, we’re proud to tell you that we won!

The discriminatory provision was removed from the bill just after midnight last night sending the message loud and clear that the General Assembly has no business interfering in local decisions to enact anti-discrimination policies. To date, many communities across North Carolina—including  Buncombe, Durham, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties, and the cities of Asheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Charlotte, High Point and Raleigh—have passed ordinances protecting LGBT residents from discrimination, with popular local support.  Wake County is the newest addition to this list, having just amended its employee non-discrimination provisions to include LGBT protections earlier this month.  We supported that effort, and will continue to support local efforts while pushing for statewide protections as well.

We must all remain vigilant in the face of any future attempts to codify intolerance, but today, we hope you join us in celebrating this victory!

RALEIGH – The Wake County Board of Commissioners today voted to add lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals to those protected by the county’s employment nondiscrimination policies. The measure, approved as part of a consent agenda, ensures that county employees cannot be discriminated against for their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

“We applaud the Wake County commissioners for joining the growing list of county and city governments that have expanded workplace protections in the interest of fairness and equality,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “Everyone deserves a fair chance at employment and advancement in the workplace, and no one should ever lose their job because of who they are or who they love. Employers know that part of attracting and retaining the best employees is offering a workplace that is fair, where qualified individuals are not discriminated against based on characteristics unrelated to the job.

The sad reality is, despite overwhelming public support for protecting LGBT workers in North Carolina, it is still legal to fire or refuse to hire someone because of their sexual orientation in much of our state. We urge the General Assembly and other local governments across the state to pass comprehensive employment protections for LGBT workers.”

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