Jan 06 2021

No one should have to fear domestic violence, and the law should protect all citizens from the threat of domestic violence.

This principle guided Kevin Hall, Managing Partner of Womble Bond Dickinson’s Columbia, SC office, and former firm attorneys Amalia Manolagas and Allen O’Rourke to help extend 50B domestic violence protection orders to LGBTQ citizens. The trio filed an amicus brief on behalf of Legal Aid of NC and the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence in a case before the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The case, M.E. v. T.J., challenges the state’s limitations on providing domestic violence protective orders only to victims in opposite sex relationships. The lawsuit alleges that this violates the constitutional rights of LGBTQ citizens.

By a 2-1 decision, the NC Court of Appeals agreed with Hall, Manolagas, O’Rourke and others who advocated for extending legal protections for domestic violence victims.  

“No matter the review applied, N.C.G.S. § 50B-1(b)(6) does not survive Plaintiff’s due process and equal protection challenges under either the North Carolina Constitution or the Constitution of the United States,” the court ruled.

This pro bono work builds on Hall’s successful 2017 campaign to extend domestic violence protections to all citizens in South Carolina. Hall and O’Rourke filed a pro bono amicus brief in support of the South Carolina Equality Coalition's efforts to clarify language in the law so that more South Carolinians are protected, including unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples.