Crystal & Leigh, Asheville, NC
Both lifelong North Carolinians, Leigh grew up in Greensboro, and Crystal grew up in western North Carolina, a couple of hours away from their current home in Asheville. Crystal, 40, is an elementary school librarian and Leigh, 38, is a kindergarten teacher who has been a stay-at-home mom for the past couple of years. Together seven years, Crystal and Leigh live in Asheville with their children, 2-year-old Quinn and baby Joe, who were carried by Crystal.
The family often visits Leigh's parents, who live on a farm about an hour north of Greensboro and are doting grandparents. Unfortunately, Crystal's parents have never accepted her relationship with Leigh. Their rejection has been a source of hurt and anxiety for Crystal and Leigh. "I love my parents very much, but with second parent adoption banned in North Carolina, I really worry about what might happen to the children if anything were ever to happen to me," says Crystal.
Megan & Shana, Greensboro, NC
Shana and Megan are lifelong North Carolinians who met four years ago through mutual friends. Shana, 29, works at an HIV services nonprofit and Megan, 32, works as a home care provider for a woman with severe physical and developmental disabilities. In 2010, Megan adopted Jax, who was living in a group foster home in another state with 15 other children. Born to a mother with alcohol and substance use issues, Jax has cerebral palsy and suffered from reduced oxygen to the brain at birth. While Jax was set back further by a lack of early intervention treatments, Shana and Megan acted quickly to get him the services and treatments he so badly needed as soon as they brought him home. Now 4 years old, Jax is doing very well in pre-school and is learning to communicate using a computer.
In the summer of 2010, Jax had to have surgery. The fact that Shana doesn't have a legal relationship to Jax made his hospital stay much harder on the family than it had to be. They had planned to take turns spending the night at the hospital with Jax, but the hospital didn't allow Shana to stay past visiting hours without Megan also being there. With no breaks for a good night's sleep, Megan stayed at Jax's side around the clock for an exhausting five days in a row. "Megan didn't sign up to be a single mother," said Shana. "All I want is to be able to fully take on my responsibility as Jax's mom too."
Lennie & Pearl, High Point, NC
Lennie, 76, a retired attorney, and Pearl, 87, a retired professor, have been together for 45 years. They have celebrated many anniversaries together, but don't want to have an official ceremony until they can do so legally in North Carolina with their friends and family. “We have the most remarkable bond,” Lennie says.
Krista Tillman, Charlotte, NC
As a college dean, former business leader, and mother of a gay son, Krista Tillman of Charlotte wants North Carolina to be a place that embraces loving and committed couples who can help strengthen our state’s economy and future.
Alicia & Laura, Durham, NC
Alicia and Laura became high school sweethearts after they played basketball against each other for competing North Carolina high schools. “We were the biggest rivals,” Laura says. “Our basketball games would pack the house … We still have arguments about it.” They have been together for 12 years, but they worry that changes to North Carolina’s constitution could make it difficult for them to live in the state where they were both born and raised.
Maureen & Shannon, Chapel Hill, NC
Maureen and Shannon have been together for 23 years. They moved to North Carolina to help Shannon’s daughter take care of their two grandchildren and were proud to recently write their wills in North Carolina, but worry that if Amendment One is passed, their legal protections could be put in jeopardy.
NC Faith Leaders
Religious leaders from different faiths across North Carolina are concerned about the impact Amendment One could have on members of their congregations and beyond.