WE DO protesters found “not guilty”

Three people arrested as part of the Campaign for Southern Equality's WE DO protest in May were found not guilty on trespassing charges yesterday.

Laura Blackley, Cindy Jordan, and Craig White were all found innocent of the charges on the grounds that they were exercising their constitutional right to petition public officials when they were arrested after refusing to leave the Register of Deeds' office. Blackley and Jordan were among several protesters who had requested marriage licenses, knowing they would be denied, as part of a protest against bans on same-sex marriage. White chose to be arrested as part of the demonstration to show his support.

“It was powerful to see a North Carolina court recognize the fundamental right of LGBT people to petition our government to change discriminatory laws that ban marriage between LGBT couples," CSE Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara says in an announcement of the verdict. "This is one more step in our effort to achieve full equality under the law.”

The five other protesters arrested in May's action go before a judge today.

Participants in the WE DO campaign arrested in a previous protest last October were found guilty and had to pay a minor fine. CSE is planning the next stage of the campaign throughout the Southeast for January of next year.— David Forbes

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