After the passage of Amendment One on May 8, it seems like the whole state is asking, “Now what?”
One organization, Equality NC, is trying to answer that question with a series of town hall meetings titled, “What’s Next.”
“We have been going across the state with these meetings, and it has been a very exciting opportunity for us to reach out to people that helped with that campaign,” said Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC. ”It also give us the opportunity to talk to our gay and straight allies about the next step.”
Equality NC is an organization that has been working for equal rights for the LGBT community in North Carolina since 1975.
The amendment to the North Carolina Constitution explicitly states that the only legal union in NC is marriage between a man and a woman. Equality NC is fighting for equal rights for everyone in North Carolina.
The group held its most recent town hall meeting, which was lead by a panel of members of human rights organizations from across the state, onJune 18 in Greensboro.
Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union-NC; Bishop Donagrant McCluney, Southerns on New Ground field organizer; Andrew Spainhour, general counsel for Replacements Ltd.;Addison Ore, executive director of the Triad Health Project, and Campbell all took part in the panel discussion.
Rudinger, whose organization has participated in 12 of the town hall meetings, explained that the meetings have been a way for those who worked hard to fight against Amendment One to come together and talk about the positive gains since its passage.
“May 8th was not the end of the movement. We saw 130 businesses and organizations come together to fight against the bill in NC,” she said. “All that momentum was built and created fighting against the bill. Now we need to take that momentum and use it.”
Replacements Ltd. was one of the companies in NC that spoke out against Amendment One. Their CEO, Bob Page, is an openly gay man who lobbied against the bill. Spainhour has also spoken out against the bill for the company.
Another way that Equality NC is trying to reach their goal is through fighting for anti-discrimination laws for homosexuals in the workplace. Currently, according to Rudinger and Campbell, there is no NC law protecting a person from being fired simply because they are gay.
The “What’s Next” town hall meetings will continue through June 28.