A protest against antigay North Carolina minister Charles Worley will go on this weekend after having been briefly in danger of being blocked by local government authorities.
Catawba County officials initially denied organizers’ request to hold the protest Sunday on the grounds of a county building in Newton, citing an ordinance requiring 14 days’ advance notice, among other things, the Hickory Daily Record reports. After organizers sought help from the American Civil Liberties Union, the county reversed its position and county attorney Debra Bechtel issued a statement saying concerns had been raised about the constitutionality of the ordinance. Staffers will be working on a revised ordinance that assures First Amendment rights are upheld, she added.
As many as 2,000 protesters are expected at the event, to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in response to Worley’s Mother’s Day sermon at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, in which he said “queers and homosexuals” and lesbians should be placed in a concentration camp–like environment, with the genders separated behind electrified fences. “In a few years, they’ll die out … do you know why?” he said. “They can’t reproduce!”
Video of the sermon went viral online this week, and it was mentioned on national television. Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate quickly organized the protest, originally scheduled to be held near the church but moved to the Catawba County Justice Center, about 12 miles away, due to the large crowd expected.