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LAKE LURE, N.C. – Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA) should promptly rescind its ban on all student-led noncurricular groups, including an LGBTQ+ student organization that was recently formed to promote tolerance and equality for all students, according to a letter sent today by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF)  to school officials.

At its November 12 meeting, the LLCA Board of Directors voted to suspend all student-run clubs after some community members challenged the new LGBTQ+ club. In today’s letter, ACLU-NCLF Legal Director Chris Brook explains that the federal Equal Access Act forbids schools from permitting some student groups while barring others. LLCA has a history of allowing noncurricular students organizations, including a campus Christian organization, Raptors for Christ, that has met on campus for five years.

“The LGBTQ+ club does not seek special treatment,” Brook writes in the letter. “They simply seek to be treated the same as other student groups on campus, a right guaranteed to them by the Equal Access Act.”

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ACLU-NC Releases 2015 Legislative Report Card

Posted on in Legislative News

RALEIGH – The North Carolina General Assembly’s 2015 session witnessed major setbacks for civil liberties for the state, according to a legislative report card released today by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC).

The statewide civil liberties group graded North Carolina House and Senate members’ votes on five key bills, respectively, all of which the ACLU-NC opposed for their negative impact on civil liberties. Three of the bills graded were signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, and a fourth is awaiting his signature or veto. The group also issued grades for votes on two bills that did not become law and were voted on by only one of the two chambers.

The votes graded were on the following bills and issues:

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One Year After Marriage Equality in NC

Posted on in LGBT Rights

One year ago today, same-sex couples in North Carolina won the freedom to marry the person they love.

Many people contributed to that incredible victory. But the most important of all were the families who had the courage and conviction to serve as plaintiffs in the legal challenges the ACLU and others brought against North Carolina's discriminatory marriage ban.

Please join us in thanking the families who served as plaintiffs in our marriage lawsuits and helped expand freedom and equality for thousands of North Carolinians.

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Victory Protecting Local LGBT Nondiscrimination Laws

Posted on in LGBT Rights

Earlier this week, under cover of night, and less than 48 hours away from the close of the nine month legislative session, members of the General Assembly attempted—once again—to sanction discrimination against LGBT North Carolinians.  A provision negotiated in secret by a group of appointed House and Senate members was inserted into SB 279, an unrelated bill on licensing requirements for counselors, and would have stripped local governments of their ability to pass ordinances protecting LGBT residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  In the waning hours of the legislative session, the ACLU and our allies worked tirelessly to educate both members of the General Assembly and the public about the devastating discriminatory consequences of such a law.  A broad coalition that included civil rights groups, faith leaders, and local governments came together to stand up and fight—and today, we’re proud to tell you that we won!

The discriminatory provision was removed from the bill just after midnight last night sending the message loud and clear that the General Assembly has no business interfering in local decisions to enact anti-discrimination policies. To date, many communities across North Carolina—including  Buncombe, Durham, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties, and the cities of Asheville, Boone, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Charlotte, High Point and Raleigh—have passed ordinances protecting LGBT residents from discrimination, with popular local support.  Wake County is the newest addition to this list, having just amended its employee non-discrimination provisions to include LGBT protections earlier this month.  We supported that effort, and will continue to support local efforts while pushing for statewide protections as well.

We must all remain vigilant in the face of any future attempts to codify intolerance, but today, we hope you join us in celebrating this victory!