Youngsters protest in front of Lt. Gov.'s office after comments toward LGBTQ community
Posted October 13, 2021 4:51 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2021 11:18 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A group of around 50 protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday afternoon to condemn Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson for his remarks critical of the LGBTQ community.
In what was described as a youth rally, a mix of adults and children were seen holding signs on the sidewalk in front of the Hawkins-Hartness House on Blount Street, site of the lieutenant governor's office. Robinson has come under fire in recent days in light of the remarks. Several elected officials and LGBTQ advocacy groups have asked Robinson to resign.
Demonstrators held signs with writings such as "Jesus said love everyone," "We're all God's children" and "Hate has no home here." Protesters chanted "we are not filth" and "love is love." Many attending were still in grade school with some as young as fifth graders.
Police were on scene, although the gathering appeared to be orderly. Some counter protesters appeared with signs in support of Robinson. Videos of Robinson's speeches at two North Carolina churches from this summer have surfaced in recent days.
“There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” Robinson said told the congregation at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove in June.
Robinson has also come under fire for his efforts in trying to remove what he called "highly sexual" material from North Carolina schools curriculum.
The White House called Robinson’s comments “repugnant and offensive.”
"This just feels like a bridge too far," said Melissa Florer-Bixler of Robinson's words. Florer-Bixler is a pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church.
"Someone has to stand up to him and today it's these kids," she said.
"I felt like he called me and a lot of my friends ‘filth’ and I know that I am not filth," said seventh grader Tennyson Florer-Bixler.
Gov. Roy Cooper added, "He does not speak for North Carolina. we are a welcoming and inclusive state. we want the entire nation in the work to know to know that."
Tami Fitzgerald with the NC Values Coalition backs Robinson for standing by the remarks.
"Lt. Gov. Robinson is doing what is needed right now," Robinson said. "To expose the curriculum to the public, to make it transparent so that parents have the choices here, whether they want their children to learn this type of material or not."
A political expert noted that while many are disturbed by the nature of Robinson's words, he has the right to say them under the Constitution.
"From a legal perspective, unless he says things that incites violence, he’s protected," said Dr. David McLennan of Meredith College. "If he said to some of his supporters ‘go across the street and punch one of those protestors in the face,' that would be crossing a line."