As our LGBT community celebrates Mother’s Day in Massachusetts where gay marriage has been the law for 10 years since 2004 we worry about our community in the southern red states. In states like Mississippi, Alabama & Arkansas gay couples like Mississippians Joce & Carla live in constant fear…fear that their kids will be taken from them by the state if they live too openly…that Joce’s business will suffer if she’s too vocal about who she is…even that people who don’t approve of their “lifestyle” could physically harm them or their kids. HRC has launched Project One America—their bold new civil rights campaign to dramatically expand lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) equality to Mississippi, Alabama & Arkansas. When Joce & Carla decided to have kids, none of the fertility specialists in town would treat “unmarried women” with in vitro-fertilization, so they had to travel back & forth to New Orleans. Today their children can only have Carla’s last name as their middle name. Though Carla is their biological mother—the couple decided that Joce would carry Carla’s eggs—she is not considered a parent in the eyes of the law in Mississippi. Mississippi, Alabama & Arkansas have no local or state laws that protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in the workplace, housing or public accommodations & each state’s constitution expressly prohibits marriage equality. Joce & Carla are no different from their neighbors in Mississippi—who are holding down jobs, raising families & contributing to their communities. They deserve to have the same equal rights in the state that they love that heterosexual have.
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