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Upcoming Events

Civil Rights Symposium: "The Battle for Reproductive Freedom: Politicians in the Doctor's Office"
Date: Friday, April 11, 2014
Location: International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Greensboro

Know Your Rights: What To Do If You're Stopped By Police
Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Location: Duke University

Annual Meeting: Meet the Lawyers and Families Behind North Carolina's Marriage Equality Lawsuit
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Location: LGBT Center of Raleigh

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ACLU of NC: Recent Blog Entries

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By Rose Sax, ACLU's LGBT & AIDS Project

Think of what it would mean for someone who has been with their partner for decades to confront losing a spouse, while the state insists they're not really married. That's exactly what many same-sex couples face in North Carolina.

Today, we filed a new lawsuit seeking relief for three North Carolina families in desperate situations.


GREENSBORO, N.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation and the law firms of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Ellis & Winters LLP filed a new case in federal court today 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 also sought immediate relief on behalf of one of the couples in the existing Fisher-Borne et al. v. Smith case who have a young child who is being denied critical medical care because North Carolina neither  recognizes his mothers’ marriage nor allows both mothers to adopt their child and establish a legal relationship.

“Nothing should delay loving and committed couples from having the security and recognition that comes with marriage,” said Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “For many couples – especially those who have children or one partner who is elderly or ill – the need for marriage recognition is an urgent, daily reality. Without the legal security that only marriage affords, these families are left vulnerable. If they could marry or have their marriages recognized in North Carolina, the law would protect their families in countless ways.”


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.”


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A federal court today ordered North Carolina state lawmakers to release some e-mails and other documents related to the passage of the state's sweeping voter suppression law. It also rejected North Carolina’s argument that legislators have absolute immunity to keep their documents from the public.  The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a motion to compel the release of that information after lawmakers refused to do so citing "legislative immunity."

"North Carolinians have a right to know what motivated their lawmakers to make it harder for them to vote," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "Legislators should not be shrouding their intentions in secrecy. The people deserve better."

Immediately after Gov. Pat McCrory signed the voter suppression bill into law last August, the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed their legal challenge. The suit targets provisions that eliminate a week of early voting, end same-day registration, and prohibit "out-of-precinct" voting. The groups charge that enacting these provisions would unduly burden the right to vote and discriminate against African-American voters, in violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.