A 74-year-old woman kissed an anti-gay preacher on the cheek while he was protesting a gay pride event in North Carolina. Now she's being charged -- with simple assault.
Truth be told, the 49-year-old homophobic preacher, James Edward Belcher, who was among several people who showed up to preach and protest the event, is a big piece of work. (Don't believe me? You can see for yourself here and here.)
Still, it does seem rather strange and out of place that Joan Parker, a gay rights supporter, would plant a big smooch on him. But she had a reasonable explanation for her behavior:
He was just waving his arms and has a Bible in one hand, up and down, and screaming at the top of his lungs, "sodomites" and "you're going to hell" ... I thought he needed a hug. So I gave him a hug.
According to Belcher, however, the encounter was much more sexual and violent. He's claiming that she "ran her arms all the way around" him, pulled him toward her, and tried to kiss him on the mouth; because he turned his head, the kiss landed on his cheek instead. He asked police to charge Parker with a crime because he maintained her kiss:
... was just one of many attempts to silence the preaching to those in need of salvation who practice a death style that they call a lifestyle.
He's certainly got a point: Unwanted touching is unacceptable in any situation. And, Parker clearly intended the gesture -- no matter how peaceful -- to show her displeasure and halt his preaching if only for a little while. But it's almost impossible to side with or even feel sympathy for a guy that spews as much hate as Belcher does on a constant basis.
Unfortunately, Parker is going to have to face the consequences of breaking the law -- possibly 30 days of community service. But hopefully the "horrific" experience of the unwanted smooch will be enough to deter Belcher from protesting at future gay pride events. In which case, this awesome lady took one for the team.
Image via Fibonacci Blue/Flickr