Mission & Accomplishments
Equality NC is dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians.
To accomplish these goals we tirelessly lobby the North Carolina General Assembly, executive branch, and local governments, broadcast LGBT news, stories and content, and mobilize our communities on issues that matter most to you, including marriage equality, parental rights, inclusive anti-bullying policies, employment discrimination, hate violence, privacy rights, sexuality education, adoption, domestic partnerships, and HIV/AIDS.
Equality NC refers to three connected nonprofit corporations:
Our parent organization that hosts our lobbying and advocacy efforts.
Equality NC Action Fund (PAC)
Our political action committee, which works to elect fair-minded candidates.
Equality NC Foundation
Our foundation organization that provides educational programming on LGBT issues and conducts comprehensive campaigns to build public support for equal rights.
- LGBT Health Coverage
In 2014, advocacy by Equality NC and statewide partners contributed to a reversal by North Carolina's major ACA insurers to provide family benefits to same-sex couples living in the Tar Heel State. That change kicked off a host of policy shifts in several states and led directly to federal clarifications of benefits for same-sex couples in the new insurance marketplace.
- Equality NC Affiliates
In 2014, Equality NC launched it's first-ever affiliates, Cape Fear Equality (Wilmington) and Equality Foothills (Hickory), to spearhead important local cultural work and civic engagement in the organization’s overall efforts to improve the lives of LGBT communities in eastern and western North Carolina.
- Electeds for Equality
In 2013, Equality NC launched Electeds for Equality,a bi-partisan peer network of elected officials representing communities from across North Carolina and at every level of state and local government. NC Electeds for Equality includes elected officials at various levels of government in North Carolina who are supportive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights and justice. With an inaugural group of 12 members, NC Electeds for Equality quickly ballooned to over 60 representatives of the Council of State, state legislators, mayors, city and town council members, county commissioners and municipal officers – from Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper -- representing communities from the North Carolina mountains to the coast.
- Leading the Fight for Workplace Protections
Since 2012, Equality NC has redoubled its efforts to pass comprehensive workplace protections for gay and transgender workers on the state and location level. In 2013, the organization prompted two bills to protect state workers and teachers and worked dilligently on the local level to pass protections in cities and counties throughout the state.
- Leading Cultural Work for Marriage Equality
In 2013, Equality NC launched the #GetEngagedNC campaign, focused on the important work of moving people where they are on issues of equality, including the freedom to marry. Through statewide trainings and social media efforts, the organization has now built a small army of activists prepared to work for LGBT relationship recognitions where they live and in communities that they call home, including faith, business, and rural areas.
In 2011-2012, the LGBT community faced its biggest yet with the campaign to defeat Amendment One. Equality NC became a leading coalition partner in the broad-based effort to defeat this discriminatory constitutional rewrite. In the process, Equality NC helped bring together over 100 organizations and coalition partners to defeat this referendum targeting the LGBT community, while also mobilizing grassroots activism statewide—in major cities and rural hubs—through innovative campaigns like Race to the Ballot.
- Healthy Youth Act
In 2009, Equality NC worked through the Healthy Youth NC coalition to pass H.B. 88, replacing the failed abstinence-only law with a comprehensive sexuality education program. Because of the Healthy Youth Act, public school students in grades 7-9 now have access to comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education instead of the failed "abstinence until marriage" of the past.
- HIV/AIDS Prevention & Care Funding
In early 2010, the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides life-saving medicine to low-income people living with HIV, was closed to new enrollees due to insufficient funding. Equality NC and our allies sprang into action and, despite a large budget shortfall, secured an additional $14.1 million for the program — more than doubling the state's investment. We were also successful in maintaining ongoing funding for HIV prevention programs.
- Hospital Non-Discrimination
In 2010, Equality NC's Transgender Policy Task Force, a group of volunteers who lead our efforts to win transgender-inclusive policies at the state level, identified health care discrimination as a top issue for the transgender community. On their recommendation, Equality NC petitioned to add "gender identity" to the non-discrimination provision of the Hospital Patients Bill of Rights for the state and to update "sexual preference" to "sexual orientation." After securing unanimous approval from the Medical Care Commission and the Rules Review Commission, this important rule took effect on January 1, 2011.
- Hospital Visitation
In 2010, the US Department of Health and Human Services implemented national hospital non-discrimination rules based on the policy Equality NC secured at the state level in 2008. President Barack Obama quoted the North Carolina policy in his Presidential Memo initiating this important change for families nationwide, another reminder that change for our community flows up from the states, not down from Washington, DC.
- Inclusive School Violence Prevention Act
In 2009, together with a strong coalition of organizations and thousands of dedicated supporters across the state, Equality NC overcame the odds and made history by winning passage of S.B. 526 to provide strong protections against bullying and harassment in schools, with explicit protections for LGBT youth. This landmark law marks the first time sexual orientation and gender identity are protected in North Carolina law, and the first time gender identity is protected in the any Southern state. Check out our video documenting key moments in our campaign to achieve this victory: