*UPDATED WITH VIDEO* Photos: Impromptu midnight march through downtown opposing Amendment One

Following a peaceful gathering with songs and candles at Vance Monument earlier in the evening, a group decided to take to the streets to protest the passage of Amendment One.

A group of 75 to 100 people staged an impromptu march against Amendment One downtown early Wednesday morning. Starting spontaneously just hours after the people of North Carolina voted to amend the state’s constitution to ensure that marriage between one man and one woman will be the state’s only legal domestic union, the march at times bordered on becoming a riot. Protesters chanted obscene slogans and threw firecrackers, encouraging bar patrons to join them as they marched through the streets, ending up at the Vance Monument, where the march began. Despite its rowdiness, the march remained peaceful.

After blocking the streets for much of their progress, the protesters quickly dispersed to the sidewalks when several Asheville Police Department cars arrived after about 20 minutes. A few demonstrators waited for the close approach of police, apparently to see what the reaction would be. The only officer who came to speak to the group was very polite and professional. He asked if there was something they needed from the police, and what their further plans were. The protesters were also polite and told him, no, we have already done it.

After that the group crossed to the Vance Monument. Several brief speeches were given and protesters vowed to turn their anger into action to overturn Amendment One.

Xpress reporter Caitlin Byrd captured this video of the march on her cell phone:

This email was recieved from one of the apparent leaders of the march, Samuel Soper a short time ago…

My partner and I had a domestic partnership yesterday. We no longer do today and this hurts me primarily because my partner and my community are my family. I come from an unsupportive, unstable, queerphobic backround. I don’t think I ever felt the love that I longed for from anyone before tonight as we banned together in solidarity. Tonight I felt a sense of community that I have not felt ever before amongst the queer and ally demographic of Asheville, NC. We marched at midnight this evening and literally took to the streets of downtown Asheville. Nearly fifty of us came together through phone calls, text messages, and Facebook in under an hour.

We didn’t come together for the same reasons many groups do. We didn’t come together proclaiming that we deserve recognition of our love to another person. We came together with the love and passion that we all have for one another as well as radical change. We came together saying, We are lower class oppressed individuals and this amendment was a power trip. This amendment was an extreme act of privlege and unecessary. We came together saying, We are here and we are important. Many of us are not the mainstream faces seen in the LGBTQ fight. Many of us are transgender, genderqueer, plain old queer, lesbian,ally, bisexual, gay and without label. Many of us work service jobs. Many of us are in school. Many of us do not fit the cookie cutter image that America demands in order to deem queerness as “normal” or “acceptable”.

Many of us are apart of local LGBTQ organizations that do other work not as glamorous as marriage rights.  We reacted tonight because we were all hurt that the state could create so much fragmentation and use marriage the way that it does. We were mourning and we needed to let as many people as possible know.
I don’t feel like this was the end. We will continue to fight and create as much awareness and visibility possible.

I run an organization called “Just Us For All”. I know many people in the community have come to our events. We are having our “We’re Not Bashful” rally on May 18th and the queer community here uses Stonewall as an excuse to come together once a year. Stonewall will occur on June 30th. I imagine we will use these events as ways to maintain our solidarity and continue to gain recognition and visibility in hopes of a repeal one day but primarily to keep our community together,strong, and educated.
A few people that need to be recognized for their efforts in this community besides myself are: E.B. Clayton, Caroline Wilson, and Otto M.

Samuel Soper


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

18 thoughts on “*UPDATED WITH VIDEO* Photos: Impromptu midnight march through downtown opposing Amendment One

  1. Thunder Pig

    For an “impomptu midnight march” it was remarkably well covered by two photographers from the Mountain Xpress who happened to be in the area at midnight.


    • anonymous

      They actually ran out of a bar as we were passing and just started flashing cameras in our faces. The media wasn’t notified beforehand.

  2. Matthew Burd

    I am so proud and happy that so many people showed up to this impromptu march. Thanks everybody who sent out texts/emails and made calls. I truely wish I could have been there.

    Question authority
    Challenge your oppressors
    Hold your own flag.

  3. Matthew Burd

    Oh, and photographer,

    Please respect peoples wishes and ask consent before shooting them doing something that doesn’t fall under the states definition of legal.

    Matthew Burd

    • David Forbes


      Legally and ethically, journalists covering an event are free to take photos or videos of anyone acting in a public space, as are any other citizens. We do the same for both police and protesters, and will not request prior consent from either.

    • Matthew Burd


      Though I respect the “right” of a photogrpher-journalist to take shots of anyone at any time, I feel that in today’s America, security culture has changed the way the game must be played. You can take my picture any time; I have nothing to hide because I do not fear the state. However, many people do and with good reason. With the APD plucking people off the street days after an event happened, because forensics was able to identify them from photographs, and then arresting them without citing the reason; you must recagnize that by posting photos of these individuals you are aiding the police. In todays terms that implies that you are aiding a Police State.

      In the second photo in this set the individual is hiding their face. Do you think that is because they are modest? No; it is because they don’t want to be identified by the police.

      If you wish to stay neutral when covering a story that involves illegal activity… then write about it. Don’t post evidence in the states favor.

      The only reason that I felt so strongly about writing this responce to you, is because of your wording “We…will not request”

      You are not speaking for yourself here. It sounds as if you would like that to be Mountain X policy. If I asked Bill Rhodes personally not to take my photo at a specific event, I believe he would respect that.

      If you were given a tip from someone who wished to remain anonymous would you go and post their name everywhere?

      Thanks for taking the time to read this, even if I did not sway your opinion on the matter.

      ~Matthew Burd

    • Margaret Williams

      To quote from the ACLU’s “cheat sheet” concerning photography+journalism:

      “When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view.”

      Further, protesters have the responsibility of being aware they are in a public space and therefore may be photographed (whatever the nature of their activity). Although we would consider a direct request from an individual that we not include them in a photograph(s), we do not have to ask permission in cases like this.

      Regarding the midnight march, our Xpress reporters/photographers were covering an event as it happened. And with the crowd that was involved, it would have been logistically difficult to exclude someone who didn’t want to be photographed.

    • bill smith

      “you must recagnize that by posting photos of these individuals you are aiding the police. ”

      Let’s explore that a bit: You feel that the press should actively coordinate with activists to HIDE their identity?

      If you don’t want what you are doing in a public space to be documented, dont do it in a public space.

      Also, go live in Syria, or Russia. THATS a ‘police state’. Save the hyperbole.

    • Matthew Burd

      By saying “right” I was expressing that I do infact believe you are legally in the right. What I am leaving out is Davids use of the word ethical.

      The KKK has the right to go on spreading hate.
      The Christian right wing has the right to push for biggatory amendments to the states constitution.

      “Rights” and “ethics” have nothing to do with one another.

      I thank the Mountain X for doing such an awesome job of covering local news. I respect all of your journalists far more than any other news agency in the region. I only ask that you are explicitly aware of the reprocusions that your coverage may have on the individuals involved in your articles.

      When your actions have direct reprocussions on others they may or may not be ethical. Just keep this in mind.

      With all due respect

      ~Matthew Burd

  4. bearsnotyuppies

    I heard people chanting “We will not assimilate! F*** the law, F*** the state!” or smash the state?

    I guess its hard for people to believe in the legitimacy of an authority that declares them and their relationships to be illegal.

    Stonewall should be fun this year!

    • wlkdwnalameda

      We got solidarity in both We’re Not Bashful and Stonewall. Should be a fun couple of months!

  5. Bill Rhodes

    The photographers for the MountainXpress had just finished ordering food for the first time since breakfast at a downtown establishment when the march passed by.

    We returned to our cold food after running out to cover it.

    • Barry Summers


      Your sacrifice will surely be noted by the Pulitzer committee. :)

  6. Thad

    I was trained by the Mass Communication program staff at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and my first jobs after graduating from there were for newspapers.
    Many, many misunderstandings remain regarding what a journalist has the right to do. Let me tell you this, Matthew Burd: Any journalist has the right and the responsibility to photograph any person he or she wants to photograph in public. I keep hearing time and again that journalists need to get permission before taking someone’s photograph, but if you are in public and are engaged in something newsworthy, then you should freely give your face, your name, your official title to the journalists covering the event. If the journalist is willing to bring this news to the general public, to people like me, the least you can do is show your face and give your name and official title if asked. It is well within the rights of a journalist to photograph each and every protester at any event, and I, as a consumer of local media, rely on nosy journalists and pushy photographers to get the truth. I fully support the journalists’ right to bring me the news, the photos, the names, everything the journalist can get. And if you are so paranoid that you don’t want to be held accountable for your actions, then don’t go outside.

  7. StonewallWasARiot

    Building on the anger, frustration, and disillusionment resulting from Amendment One’s passing, Asheville Stonewall events should be particularly interesting this year.

    Asheville’s annual celebration of radical queer and trans liberation history is on June 30th this year.
    We got Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/asheville.stonewall

    For more on the original Stonewall Riots of 1969 go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

    2012. The end is queer. High time for the heterostinction y’all.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.