NORTH CAROLINA - The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled last week that people who are in a same-sex partnership are now equally protected against domestic violence as people in opposite-sex relationships.
"North Carolina was the last state in the nation to have a statute that restricted domestic violence protective orders only to couple’s of the opposite sex," said Ames Simmons with Equality NC.
Simmons said the ruling stemmed from a case back in 2018, where a woman in a lesbian relationship, who was a domestic violence survivor, was denied a protective order because of her same-sex relationship.
"North Carolina law stated that an LGBTQ person's existence was not as valuable as a heterosexual person, so they ruled the animosity towards them doesn't have a place in that state anymore," he said.
The 2-1 ruling said the state law created a heightened potential of harassment or physical abuse in the LGBTQ community that was not in keeping with the state goals of improving public safety.
"The decision the Court of Appeals made relies strongly on part on some of the Supreme Court rulings, like gay marriage, that have come out in recent years," Simmons stated.
Simmons believes there is still more work to be done to update laws and policy to increase equity for all.
"This is a strong win for the LGBTQ community, but we must continue to fight and more needs to be done about the violence we encounter," he said.