Six LGBT couples in South Carolina are now applying for marriage licenses this week, as the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) expands its WE DO Campaign across the South. At 3:45 p.m on January 17, 2012, three LGBT couples will request - and be denied - marriage licenses in Greenville, SC. Two more couples will request licenses in Greenville on Wednesday, January 18, and another couple will do so in Charleston on the morning of January 19.
The purpose of the WE DO Campaign is to resist discriminatory state marriage laws and to call for full LGBT equality under federal law. This stage of the WE DO Campaign will occur days before South Carolina’s Presidential primary. CSE has invited all candidates for the Republican nomination for President to participate in a Prayer Service for Reconciliation which will take place directly after the couples request licenses. Led by clergy, this prayer service will call for people to treat each other with love, even as we stand on opposite sides of theological and political debates about LGBT rights.
Greenville, SC – The momentum of the WE DO Campaign continues to grow, as six LGBT couples in South Carolina now prepare to take action calling for full LGBT equality under federal law between January 17 and 19, 2012. All six couples will request - and be denied - marriage licenses in order to resist South Carolina’s discriminatory marriage law. The actions on January 17 and 18 will occur in Greenville, SC, and the January 19 action will take place in Charleston, SC.
Today at 3:45 p.m., three LGBT couples - Michel McVicker and Alyssa Weaver, Pastor Ra’Shawn Barlow-Flournoy and Kelvin Bar-Flournoy, and April Whittington and Tanika Jones - will request marriage licenses at the Greenville County Probate Court, located at Greenville County Square. Each couple will be denied because they do not meet the legal requirements for marriage in South Carolina, which stipulate that partners must be of the opposite sex.
Alyssa Weaver and Michel McVicker, who are engaged, live and work in the Greenville area, where both grew up. McVicker holds a M.A. degree and works in the mental health field with at-risk youth. Weaver is a nursing student, preparing for a career in intensive care nursing. She is also currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Surrounded by a large group of family, friends, clergy and supporters, the three couples will take this public action in order to resist a state law and an amendment to the South Carolina constitution that prohibit marriage equality. Along with other local couples, they are taking part in the Campaign for Southern Equality’s WE DO Campaign, through which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and allies resist unjust laws and call for full equality under federal law for all people.
Immediately after they request the license, the couples and their supporters will participate in a Prayer Service for Reconciliation that will be led by an interfaith group of clergy. In the spirit of reconciliation, the Campaign for Southern Equality invited all candidates for the Republican presidential nomination to participate in this prayer service. No candidate has accepted the invitation, which was sent on January 10, 2012.
“LGBT people and families live all across South Carolina and the South, yet do so as second class citizens. The people taking part in the WE DO Campaign are standing up to say, we are equal and discriminatory laws must change on the federal level, says Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality and a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ.
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, two more couples will request licenses at 3:45 p.m. and a Prayer Service for Reconciliation will be held immediately following the action. On January 19, 2012, a couple will request a marriage license at 10:30 a.m. in Charleston, SC.
Greenville, SC, is the second site of the WE DO Campaign, which started in Asheville, NC, on October 3, 2011. For information about the previous action, please see CSE’s website at www.southernequality.org. Until full federal equality is reached, the Campaign for Southern Equality will continue to grow the WE DO Campaign to communities across the South.