Court blocks state officials from preventing NAACP gathering
RALEIGH, N.C. — Comments warning against “womanless” marriages from a North Carolina Department of Justice official are raising eyebrows with progressive and LGBT community members.
The comments came during a court hearing on Monday, where Special Deputy Attorney General Don Teeter was defending the state against a suit brought by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. The group had applied and been denied a permit to gather on state property at the North Carolina Capitol. The group successfully won a temporary restraining order keeping state officials from disapproving the event permit.
During the hearing, NAACP attorney Scott Holmes told Judge Allen Baddour that state administrators were unconstitutionally limiting speech.
“What’s really going on here is that the state has preferred speech and non-preferred speech,” Holmes said. “They prefer government speech over the people’s speech. And that’s unconstitutional.”
Teeter said state officials “do not care what speech is rendered by an applicant.” They do, however, ask for “goals, objectives and purpose” for events held on state property.
“We want to know what they’re going to do there,” Teeter said. “Are they going to roast a goat? Are they going to have a womanless wedding? Are they going to have a prayer vigil? Are they going to have a rally? That’s the kind of thing we want to know. We don’t care what they say while they do it.”
“I reject the argument that we are limiting speech at all,” Teeter said. “These folks have been permitted to go to an appropriate area to speak to their hearts’ content.”
Teeter was not immediately available for comment or clarification. qnotes has reached out to him via phone and email.
The state NAACP has held several mass gatherings in Raleigh this year. Their “Moral Monday” events have resulted in hundreds of arrests during civil disobedience protests. The group has protested education and healthcare budget cuts, voting rights restrictions and other issues.