Shouting "Keep it separate," a group of about 40 protestors marched across eight blocks of downtown Wilmington Sunday (July 29) in favor of more government emphasis on the separation of church and state.
The group gathered carrying painted "Tax the church" or "Hate isn't holy" signs at the entrance to Cape Fear Community College before their lunchtime march.
The Humanists and Freethinkers of Cape Fear supported the march, but organizers said it was open to anyone who cared about keeping faith out of government.
"It's good that so many different people showed up," said organizer Sam West. "Realistically, we know we're not going to change policy today. The goal is to get people thinking who have not thought before," about church-state separation.
The vote for Amendment One in May was one reason for the rally. Organizers highlighted the influence of Christian activists in the movement to have a constitutional marriage amendment in North Carolina.
Mike Werner's sign read: "Marriage is a human right not a heterosexual privilege."
"The Amendment One vote was devastating to us as humanists because the first principle of humanism is everybody has equal moral worth under the law, and marriage is a civil contract," Werner said, "and if people want a marriage in their religion that's fine, but civilly everyone should have that right. But we don't choose who we love."
Onlookers watched the procession quietly with one man yelling: "I will stand for the Lord when no one else will."
One group of friends talked about the march as it passed.
"I agree with them. I just think their message isn't as clear on their signs."
Mikara Bolden drove from Hickory to be part of the march because "I feel like Amendment One affected not just gay people, but straight as well. I would just like a world where people can live without persecution of their beliefs and lifestyle," she said. "The trip was worth it."
Amanda Greene: 910-520-3958 or