The editorial board of the Raleigh News & Observer weighs in on Thursday’s arrest of three gay activists who burst onto the floor of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

They write, in part:

They also escalated a tactic that’s been used before in the current legislative session. Twice, protesters in the visitors galleries have interrupted business on the floor. One of those incidents, late last month, led to the arrest of the NAACP’s state president. Taking protests to the chamber floor intensifies the potential for confrontation. It vents anger and frustration but otherwise accomplishes nothing.

There are countless reasons why many North Carolinians are upset with the current, Republican-controlled General Assembly. GOP-backed bills calling for a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriage or domestic partnerships certainly rank near the top of that list. Such an amendment, limiting citizens’ rights, would be unwise and unhelpful. But if it is to be defeated, it will have to be by winning arguments and gaining votes, not by outshouting people or shutting down the legislative process.

Read the rest of their editorial…

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

3 replies on “N&O: Disruption at legislature unhelpful”

  1. Good grief. The antics of Jim Neal and GetEQUAL got the state capitol’s newspaper to editorialize against their position.

    Aren’t media stunts like this supposed to get people to support your position?

    These folks can’t even get positive media coverage. Pathetic.

  2. Grassroots Get “Fertilized” in North Carolina by Their Own!

    Activists willing to get arrested are criticized for —
    getting arrested!!

    (OKLAHOMA CITY) It’s late spring in North Carolina and the grassroots activists are growing but apparently growing too fast for the A-list gay leaders who think they own the activist lawn. Those vigorous roots just got a spray of weed killer.

    Qnotes, a North Carolina GLBT news source for the Tar Heel state (, is reporting that a demonstration on the floor of the State House of Representatives on June 2 resulted in the arrest of three activists.

    Read the rest here:

  3. RESPOSE to The N & O’s Disruption Editorial and previous article “Gay rights proponents jailed after disrupting House session” – the comment below is posted on The N & O web site accompanying their Editorial.

    (This is not a response to QNotes.)

    While I thought your article on Friday, June 3, 2011, titled “Gay rights proponents jailed after disrupting House session” in The News and Observer was basically good, it focused solely on the one action after the Equality Rally In Raleigh event ended that derived as a personal spontaneous and passionate desire for our North Carolina State Government elected officials to hear that they are truly affecting real people’s lives by proposing to amend our North Carolina State Constitution to codify marriage as only something that heterosexual people will be allowed to legally do and benefit from. The individuals that walked over to the Legislative building after the Equality Rally ended are respectable people and active people within the communities that they reside. The three individuals who were arrested were not interested in doing harm, but only interested in making sure all our State elected representatives, at one time and together, hear that gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people deserve to be heard and respected, which is not what is taking place in this State, no matter the political party affiliation or news organization reporting.

    Unfortunately, now you have also written the Editorial titled “Disruption”, that goes so far as to blatantly accuse the individuals who performed their peaceful display of public dissent of doing major harm because they went inside the N.C. House chamber and publically expressed, out loud, how our North Carolina Legislative elected officials are treating gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people here, where we all live together, in North Carolina. Your Editorial position on this subject is misguided and wrong. You need to further examine the actions of the event and the intent of the individuals and the true benefit of the public display of descent before you use your power in your
    paper to condemn. The real harm being caused to all our citizens by the actions inside our Legislative Building, which is owned by the public, needs to be
    called out and addressed. The individuals who entered our public building seeking to be heard and not seeking to do harm, should be held up as brave heroes, doing public good. Was the Editorial writer from The News and Observer at the Equality Rally In Raleigh or at the Legislative Buiulding during the public outcry to be heard?

    If you were interested in constructing a full and factual article or editorial about the days
    event on Thursday, June 2, 2011, at the Rally on the Halifax Mall, you should have covered the Equality Rally, interviewed the eloquent speakers who addressed the 300 people that traveled from across North Carolina to be on the Halifax Mall, you should have interviewed the people who attended the Rally, you should have sought out State Legislators to address the proposed amendments that is being
    deliberated within the Legislature, N.C. HB777 and SB106, to get them to explain why they are determined to ruin good hard working people’s lives with their Legislative power efforts and most importantly you should have gone directly to the organizers of the Equality Rally and discussed the broad issues that lead them to bring this event to Raleigh. Further, You should have also gone and interviewed the individuals who bravely decided to walk into the N.C. House chamber and publically yell out for all Legislators to hear that their lives were important and needed to be listened to concerning Equality andFreedom and Justice.

    Unfortunately, you sought out and got a brief quote from a third party, Ian Palmquist with an organization called Equality North Carolina, as if he was someone who had some type broad knowledge as to what happened at the Equality Rally In Raleigh. Mr. Palmquist did not attend the Rally and by reading his quote, does not seem to understand the purpose for the event nor the personal thoughts and actions of the individuals who were arrested at the Legislative Building. I am personally perplexed as to why he felt it necessary to even speak to an effort that he was not involved in and I am further perplexed as to why you sought him out to give
    you information. While I am sure that Equality North Carolina is well respected and also does good work within North Carolina, it was not appropriate to have
    called on them for your interview in what I assume your effort to be, gather factual and clear information concerning the event for your article.

    I believe there still exist a story that needs to be told, which you nor The News and Observer has decided to do yet. The real story about the Equality Rally In Raleigh organized by Angel Chandler with GetEqual North Carolina needs to be told and the information needs to be gathered. The other bigger story is, the two proposed amendments to our North Carolina Constitution is not just that the
    Legislature has put them on the table for an up or down vote, these amendments are really affecting human lives in detrimental ways. The News and Observer needs to stop focusing on someone’s religious viewpoint of marriage and start
    focusing on the legal aspect of marriage here in North Carolina and the responsibilities and privileges that are being denied to a portion of our
    population here in North Carolina from Murphy to Manteo. The other issue with the effort of amending our Constitution to codify blatant discrimination should also be looked at as the ‘Hate Crime’ it is, do we truly want, here in North Carolina, to be taking rights away from a portion of our population and codifying it for all generations to come. What is the true language of our N.C. Constitution and what are the actual rights currently that the Legislative representatives believe needs to be changed that will make life better or worse
    in our State? Have they actually already gone against the Constitution in some way and
    they are now attempting to cover and make their actions appear legal by changing the language of our one and true legal document? You as a reporter and editorial writer have a real responsibility to
    write about the facts and be informative for us all.

    I challenge you, as a writer and reporter and your employer The News and Observer, to take this issue seriously and truly start examining it, so our entire
    population is allowed to learn truly what is happening within our Legislature. Those three brave individuals who entered the House chamber was making it their public business to bring their plea for human relief and understanding to the body of
    people who are working to harm all of us … that believe that all laws should be about Equality and justice, do not belittle their efforts by ignoring their honorable public plea. Further go back and cover the story that brought your article
    about … interview the people who organized the Equality Rally In Raleigh and who officially spoke about a very important subject in our State.

    Everybodies freedom is lost one right at a time.

    Thank you for your time and interest in this subject.

    Willie D. Pilkington
    Raleigh, North Carolina

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