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RICHMOND, VA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over North Carolina and four other states, will hear oral arguments Tuesday, May 13, in a case challenging Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The case will be argued in Richmond, Virginia, by James Esseks, Director of the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project, among others. On February 14, 2014, a federal judge ruled that Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional, but the ruling has been suspended while it is being appealed. A Fourth Circuit ruling on that case, Bostic v. Rainey, could have an impact on North Carolina’s similar marriage ban.   

In North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation have filed two federal lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, both in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro. The first, Fisher-Borne et al. v. Smith, was filed in July 2013 as an amended complaint to a 2012 lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s ban on second parent adoptions on behalf of six families across the state headed by same-sex couples. On April 9, 2014, the ACLU filed a second federal lawsuit, Gerber and Berlin et al. v. Cooper, on behalf of three married, same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their marriages. Because of the serious medical condition of one member of each couple, they are asking the court to take swift action.

The ACLU has filed an amicus curiae, or “friend-of-the-court” brief, in the Bostic case before the Fourth Circuit on behalf of its North Carolina clients who are raising children. The brief highlights particular harms that North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples has on families and children, including denial of medical decision-making in an emergency, Social Security Insurance survivor benefits, the ability to provide children with quality health insurance of the non-legal parents, detrimental tax status, and denial of veteran’s benefits, among others.

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ACLU-NC Voter Guide for 2014 Elections

Posted on in Voting Rights

This guide is designed to help protect your right to vote.  Keep it handy, and take it with you to the polls on Election Day. Download the entire guide here.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 500,000 members dedicated to defending the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution and our nation’s civil rights laws. The ACLU does not endorse or oppose any candidate or party, but we believe that no civil right in our democracy is more important than the right to vote.

QUICK TIPS FOR VOTERS

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North Carolina: Let Me Take Care of My Son

Posted on in LGBT Rights
By Shana Carignan

I live in Greensboro, North Carolina, with my family. My wife, Megan, and I flew to Texas to meet our son, Jax, over 4 years ago, who is now 6 ½. We have raised him to understand that his moms love him and would do anything for him.

But Megan is his only legal parent.

Jax has cerebral palsy, so he takes a lot of extra care. If I were allowed a legal relationship with my child, which I currently do not under North Carolina State Law, I would better be able to provide the safety that all parents want for their children.

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina sent letters yesterday to 23 sheriff’s departments across the state who to date have failed to produce documents that show they are complying with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Among PREA’s mandates for jails and detention centers is a requirement that inmates under the age of 18 be housed separately from adults – a chief concern in North Carolina, where 16 and 17 year olds are treated as adults by the criminal justice system.

“It is deeply troubling that your facility is making no efforts to comply with PREA given that this law is intended to realize the laudable goal of preventing sexual assault in jails and make reporting of assault easier for detainees,” reads the letter signed by ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Preston and ACLU-NC Legal Director Chris Brook. “…PREA compliance is not optional and failure to implement the changes required by PREA puts your facility at risk.”

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