Queer victims of domestic violence are finally protected by law in all 50 states after a historic court ruling in North Carolina.
North Carolina had been the only state that did not offer equal protection to queer people in same-sex relationships – but that changed in a court ruling delivered Thursday (31 December).
The Court of Appeals of North Carolina ruled that people who are in same-sex relationships should have the same protections as straight people when they report domestic abuse, Jurist.org reports.
The court’s ruling came after a woman, who was in a same-sex relationship, was denied a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) under the terms of the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS).
Chapter 50B of the NCGS states that only those in opposite-sex relationships can claim protection from domestic violence – which resulted in a trial court rejecting her appeal.
That court’s decision was appealed, with attorneys arguing that Chapter 50B violated North Carolina’s constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment.
Discriminatory domestic violence clause ‘singled out’ LGBT+ people.
In its ruling on Thursday, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina ruled that Chapter 50B was in violation of the due process clause, and that it violated the woman’s right to personal safety and liberty.
The court also ruled that the clause was in contravention of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Finally, the court said that the NCGS chapter singled out LGBT+ people and served no government interest, and that it failed the lowest level of a scrutiny test.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeals relied on the Supreme Court’s momentous ruling in June 2020, which declared that LGBT+ people are entitled to protection from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Court of Appeals’ ruling has been heralded as a victory for LGBT+ rights, meaning that queer people across the United States now have equal protection from domestic violence under the law.