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Free Legal Education Available for People Impacted by Amendment One

PHOTO: Almost three months after the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina, thousands of residents are still trying to understand the impact the "Marriage Amendment" will have on them.
PHOTO: Almost three months after the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina, thousands of residents are still trying to understand the impact the "Marriage Amendment" will have on them.
July 30, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - Almost three months after the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina, thousands of residents are still trying to understand the effect the "Marriage Amendment" will have on them. The measure amends the state's ban on same-sex marriages, and at least potentially has consequences for other kinds of domestic arrangements.

Monroe Moore of Asheville and his husband have three children, and took steps to protect their relationship and their children with legal documents years ago. Moore is concerned that others in his situation may not have the resources to do that.

"There are people in North Carolina that are not in a safe place, and they don't have the finances or the support to put themselves in a safe place."

The Campaign for Southern Equality is hosting free legal workshops around the state in the coming months to assist people in taking steps to protect their children, health care and assets. Equality North Carolina will help with the workshops. The next one takes place in Winston-Salem and others are planned in Durham and Asheville.

Jasmine Beach-Ferarra is the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. She says there are many misconceptions about Amendment One and how it will affect people.

"Documents like wills, child-custody orders, all those documents still are legally valid, and it's more important than ever to LGBT people to take the steps to complete those if they don't already have them."

Beach-Ferarra says more will be known about the impact of the Marriage Amendment when courts weigh in as specific issues are brought into the judicial system. She also points out that many LGBT families are also feeling the effect of state budget cuts, particularly to public education, since research shows that same-sex couples in North Carolina have a median income that is 25 percent less than married individuals.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC