"LGBTQ North Carolinians in unmarried, dating relationships must have the same access to domestic violence protections as people in heterosexual relationships, according to a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling.
The state was the last in the country to bar same-sex couples from some of the stronger legal protections from domestic violence, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The court ruled in M.E. v T.J. that the North Carolina law at issue, Chapter 50B of the North Carolina General Statutes, violated the state Constitution and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. The law defines a 'personal relationship' as 'persons of the opposite sex' who have lived together or are in a dating relationship, which specifically excludes same-sex couples.
Chapter 50B served 'no 'important,' 'substantial,' or even legitimate government interest' in denying equal domestic violence protections to people in same-sex relationships, the opinion states.
'Instead, by denying Plaintiff and similarly situated people the protections it provides victims of domestic violence in 'opposite-sex' dating relationships, runs directly counter to the promotion of the public good, welfare, morals, safety, and any other legitimate public interests of the State,' Chief Judge Linda McGee wrote for the majority."
To learn more about this topic, see VAWnet's Preventing and Responding to Domestic Violence in LGBTQ Communities special collection.