SC Equality has been involved in some way in every piece of legislation that affects the GLBT community in our state.
An integral aspect of the mission of South Carolina Equality has always been to monitor and impact legislation and the political issues in South Carolina. Working at the local and state level, we strive to advance civil and human rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) persons, and their families.
We’ve worked with the Folly Beach and Charleston City Councils and AFFA to pass ordinances that prevent discrimination in public accommodations and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is in addition to getting similar ordinances passed in Columbia in 2008. We are now working to get these protections passed in other communities in the state. Also, in 2008, we worked with the state hospital association to get a hospital visitation bill passed. It was signed by the Governor in June 2008 and guarantees that the person designated as a Health Care Power of Attorney has full hospital visitation privileges.
In recent legislative sessions, we were able to stop a Teen Dating Violence Bill that defined a dating partner only as a person in a heterosexual relationship. The original bill was gender neutral but was amended in the House with the discriminatory language at the end of that year’s session. In the next session, passed the House and went to the Senate Education Committee, where we were able to stop it from progressing further.
In the 2012 General Assembly session, we saw the Safe Schools Accountability Act passed by the South Carolina Senate. This was the first time that any legislation publicly supported by South Carolina Equality has passed either chamber of the General Assembly.
In the 2013 session, we are partnering with many other organizations to encourage the General Assembly to pass Medicaid Expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act because we know how important access to quality health care is to the LGBT community.
Generally, our work centers around five key issues:
We concentrate our non-discrimination work in three areas: public accommodations, housing, and employment. To ensure GLBT individuals and families are protected in each area, we're working on the local, state, and national level. Learn more about the successes we've had in this area.
We believe it is our moral responsibility to protect all of our state's children. That's why, in addition to the important work we're doing to help empower students to start life-saving Gay Straight Alliances, we're committed to passing legislation that will make our schools safer. Learn more about all we're doing to ensure our schools are safe and our students are healthy.
Countless studies have shown that GLBT individuals and couples make great parents—just as good as straight people. But several states in this country have passed laws that prohibit adoption by GLBT people. That's why we remain vigilant and prepared to fight this kind of discriminatory legislation, should it pop up in our state. Learn more about what we're doing to ensure a discriminatory adoption law never passes.
The 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has made life safer for all GLBT citizens. Learn more about how this historic law affects you.
Although South Carolina does not currently provide marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples, we have fought—and will continue to fight—to ensure that GLBT couples are protected in several important ways. Learn more about how you're protected.