Fort Worth police arrested two anti-gay protesters at Saturday’s gay Pride parade downtown. (Read our full story about the parade here.)
The arrested protesters are members of Kingdom Baptist Church in Johnson County, which has regularly staged anti-gay demonstrations in North Texas over the last few years.
Joey Faust, 46, and Ramon Marroquin, 33, were charged with interfering with public duties, a class-B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine. Faust is the pastor for Kingdom Baptist Church.
According to a statement from Fort Worth police, officers encountered a group from Kingdom Baptist Church at about 12:50 p.m. The officers “maintained separation of the protesters from the parade participants to ensure public safety and to prevent a breach of the peace.”
Last year, several members of Kingdom Baptist Church were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for harassing parade attendees, and this year police announced they would increase their presence at the event.
A right-wing blog called The Trumpet Online was the first to report the arrests Saturday, under the headline, “Pastor Joey Faust Arrested at Sodomite Parade”:
These Christians stood at the entrance of the parade route rebuking floats and banners from corporations such as Lockheed Martin, and Chase Morgan, from bars such as Fort Worth’s infamous Rainbow Lounge, and it grieves me to say, from “Churches” blaspheming the name of God by walking in this mess. Once all the floats passed by, these Christians walked the parade route with banners of the Lord held high and preaching the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Approximately 2/3 along the route these Christians were met by approximately 12-15 police officers who allowed people to pass that were not with the preachers but stood in the way of the preachers. As preachers would attempt to walk around these officers, the officers would move to block the way. For causes not yet known to us, they chose to arrest Pastor Joey as well as brother Ramon. We have not ascertained what they have been charged with nor do we know when they will be released.
On a positive note, those who attended Fort Worth’s Pride parade included European LGBT rights activists who were visiting Texas on an international trip. The activists marched in the parade with the local group Students, Administrators, Volunteers, Educators Support, or S.A.V.E.S, to demonstrate solidarity with gays in Belgrade, Serbia, where gay Pride is banned. Check out a photo of the activists and read their full press release after the jump.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EUROPEAN LGBT ACTIVIST MARCH IN TARRANT COUNTY IN SOLIDARITY WITH BELGRADE PRIDE
(Tarrant County, TX) – Tarrant County Pride Parade international guests demonstrate solidarity for banned Serbian Gay Pride
As Tarrant County LGBT pride parade takes place today, LGBT citizens of the nation of Serbia will be denied that same civil liberty on the same day as once again, for the second year in a row, Belgrade pride parade has been banned by the Serbian government.
European LGBT rights activists visiting Texas on an international trip will join local group Students, Administrators, Volunteers, Educators Support (S.A.V.E.S) on Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade to express their disappointment at the EU candidate country’s decision to ban Belgrade’s pride parade.
Commenting on the protest, European LGBT rights activists said “The Serbian Government is once again failing to protect its LGBT citizen’s human rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, if Serbia seeks to become an EU member it must reinstate the full rights of its citizens to assembly peacefully”.
Activists have produced placards and gags to express solidarity and support to their counterparts in Serbia.
This joint press release are signed by 16 European LGBT activists from:
Albania, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Russia, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, LIthuania, Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland and Romania, Turkey and United Kingdom.