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Gay rights proponents arrested in state House

Posted June 2, 2011

— Some proponents of gay rights were arrested Thursday after running out on the state House floor shouting "liberty and justice for all" while the chamber was in session.

The three protesters were with the North Carolina chapter of Get Equal, a political action group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, that opposes a constitutional amendment against gay marriage that is being considered in the General Assembly.

Those arrested Thursday were Jim Neal, an openly gay man who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008, Angel Chandler, the group's state organizer, and Mary Counce.

About 200 people rallied against the bill outside the Legislature Thursday afternoon. If passed, it  would likely go to voters to decide on the issue in 2012.

Current state law already bans same-sex marriage, but amendment supporters say an “activist judge” could easily overturn the statute.

Last month, an estimated 2,000 people turned out for a rally in support of the Defense of Marriage Amendment, which Republican lawmakers have been trying for years to get on the ballot. They were met by a counter protest of the North Carolina Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality, which spoke out against the bill.

The amendment’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Jim Forrester, R-Gaston, has said that he’s been promised by Senate leader Phil Berger that the amendment will be voted on in September during a special session devoted entirely to constitutional amendments.

Thursday's arrests mark the second set in as many weeks.

NAACP state president Rev. William Barber was among a group arrested last Tuesday after shouting messages from the House gallery.

The group was voicing opposition to proposed budget cuts they said would have a devastating impact on education, unemployment, voting activities and other state programs.

22 Comments

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  • Shamrock Jun 3, 2:15 p.m.

    "Why is it that these people have to be seen always? If marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman for over two millennia, why do we need to change that?" doctor dataclerk

    Because it is not defined that way in NC. Legally, there is no reference to a person's gender in NC law. Lettem do what they want. Who cares? And if you do care, why?

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jun 3, 9:25 a.m.

    Gay people have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex as straight people. Just because they don't want to is not OUR problem.

  • jollyrogered Jun 3, 9:00 a.m.

    Its not about getting religious institutions to recognize gay marriage, its about getting the government to recognize gay marriage. Religious institutions could go on thinking like they do...

  • geosol Jun 2, 7:17 p.m.

    charlesboyer wrote - "Seems to me that in the eyes of the law, marriage is a civil contract, not a religious expression. As such, let two people join into a civil union if they want. That's equal protection as guaranteed in the first clause of the 14th Amendment. If religious institutions don't want to recognize that as marriage, that's their right."
    BINGO!!! Problem is, that party of less government, you know, the REPUBLICANS, are trying as hard as they can to use the GOVERNMENT to push their right social agenda on EVERYBODY.

  • charlesboyer Jun 2, 6:48 p.m.

    Seems to me that in the eyes of the law, marriage is a civil contract, not a religious expression. As such, let two people join into a civil union if they want. That's equal protection as guaranteed in the first clause of the 14th Amendment.

    If religious institutions don't want to recognize that as marriage, that's their right.

  • cantstandya Jun 2, 6:09 p.m.

    My opinion of gay rights means little but whats the deal with Chaz Bono,is it a woman or a man,see thats where we are going with this a new gender heshe,now tell me that is not a little bit of messing with Gods creation,dangerous ground.

  • Rebelyell55 Jun 2, 5:20 p.m.

    It's like my Daddy said back in 1970, "country going to hell in a hand basket".

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Jun 2, 5:19 p.m.

    Typical.

    The same kind of characters bombard guest speakers at places like UNC, the RNC and other events.

    The only thing the righties seem to do is misspell signs.

  • husk8corn Jun 2, 5:15 p.m.

    Name the three arrested!

  • heelbilly Jun 2, 4:56 p.m.

    well you let them out of the closet now they want to take over the house.. just sayin'

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