Local North Carolina LGBT Activists Arrested at State Capitol
Asheville residents Angel Chandler and Mary Counce, and Durham resident Jim Neal Disrupt Legislative Session in Protest of Anti-Gay Bill
FROM GetEQUAL NC
RALEIGH, NC - Following the "Rally in Raleigh" today -- an event to protest the anti-gay Senate Bill 106 and House Bill 777-- local gay activists were arrested for disrupting the legislative session in progress by demanding full legal recognition for LGBT North Carolinians. Activists included Angel Chandler of GetEQUAL NC, the North Carolina chapter of the national organization GetEQUAL -- a direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization; Chandler's partner, Mary Counce; and 2008 U.S. Senate candidate James Neal. Shortly after entering the chamber, the activists began chanting "Mr. Speaker, Liberty and Justice for All North Carolinians." The activists were immediately apprehended by the police, booked and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Earlier in the afternoon, hundreds of North Carolinians attended the "Rally in Raleigh" organized by Angel Chandler of GetEQUAL NC and local activist Jonathan Green. The rally focused on SB106 and HB 777, the discriminatory bill that would put an amendment on the 2012 ballot that would prevent private businesses and municipalities in NC from offering domestic partnership insurance benefits, and invalidate Domestic Partnership Registries in the three cities in NC that offer them (Chapel Hill, Asheville and Carrboro). The anti-gay bill is authored by NC State Senators James Forrester, Jerry W. Tillman, and Dan Soucek and House Representatives Lewis, R. Brown, Crawford and Hill.
"Rally in Raleigh" Speakers included:
• Cecil Bothwell, Asheville City Councilman, author, & US Congressional Candidate for NC 11th District 2012
• Jimmy Creech, Author and Former Minister
• Janet Owen, Co-Chair Interfaith Voice of Winston-Salem
• Chelsea Sayre, GetEQUAL NC
• Jim Neal, Businessman and openly gay 2008 Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Senate
• Pam Spaulding, Pam’s House Blend
• Jonathan Green, Sexuality And Gender Alliance
• Angel Chandler, GetEQUAL NC
GetEQUAL's Executive Director, Robin McGehee, responded to the arrests, "GetEQUAL issued a call to the President today to stand up for full LGBT equality, and we're proud to support LGBT North Carolinians in issuing the same call to their state elected officials. As North Carolina gears up to host the Democratic National Convention next year, we hope that the state will be moving toward fully recognizing the dignity and equality of LGBT North Carolinians, rather than trying to further enshrine discrimination in the state constitution. North Carolina residents deserve better than the legalized discrimination that this bill promises."
Updates on the condition, charges, and penalties assessed to the three activists will be available via GetEQUAL's social networks (see below) and via GetEQUAL NC's website, www.getequalnc.org.
GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GetEQUAL, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.