Grand Island Independent Article: "Police Arrest 74 Protesters Blocking Creech Trial Site, Creech Won’t Offer Defense"

Police arrest 74 protesters blocking Creech trial site Creech won’t offer defense

Grand Island Independent
Wednesday, November 17, 1999
By Tracy Overstreet

Photos by Gerik Parmele

After refusing to move from the entrance of Trinity United Methodist Church Wednesday morning, Soulforce members follow Grand Island police Capt. Bill Holloway to be arrested.

Seventy-four people were arrested Wednesday morning for blocking access to a church where the Rev. Jimmy Creech was to go on trial for marrying two gay men.

The protesters were arrested for trespassing outside Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island. Those arrested by police had locked arms and blocked the entrance to the church as Bishop Joel Martinez of Lincoln and potential jurors arrived.

The people arrested were primarily members of Soulforce, a group supporting Creech. They were taken to a makeshift police headquarters in the former Walnut Junior High building, where they were given citations and each paid a $48 fine.

Opponents of Creech also appeared outside the church early Wednesday.


While protesting the trial of the Rev. Jimmy Creech, members of Soulforce block the entrance to Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island Wednesday morning. The group members refused to move when (from right) United Methodist Bishop Joel Martinez and Bishop William Boyd Grove asked to enter the church. Grove is presiding at the trial.


Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., held signs in protest of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Their leader, the Rev. Fred Phelps, left the scene shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, saying there were other protests they needed to attend.

The church trial started at 10 a.m. after a short jury selection process. Creech told supporters outside the church that he did not participate in jury selection, and he would not offer a defense. Offering a defense, he said, would give credibility to what he considers to be unjust and immoral church law.

Instead, Creech said, he would answer questions posed by the prosecution and give a final statement. He said he would ask jurors to give no ruling so that pastors don’t have to be punished for loving all of God’s sinners.

Jurors received the case and broke for lunch just before noon. Deliberations are scheduled to resume at 1:15 p.m.

For more on this story, link to the Grand Island Independent www.theindependent.com.

People arrested for trespassing outside Creech trial

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Grand Island police arrested 74 people for trespassing Wednesday morning outside Trinity United Methodist Church for blocking access to Rev. Jimmy Creech’s trial.

Those cited were:
Kelley Anderson, Omaha
Charles Arehart, Sunrise Beach, Mo.
Susanne Bain, Stigler, Okla.
Jack Barnhart, Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Dorothy Berry, Lexington, Ky.
Arthur Butler, Independence, Mo.
Larry Christensen, Des Moines, Iowa
Linda Christensen, Des Moines, Iowa
April Clark, Grand Island
William Coffey Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.
Luann Conaty, Venice, Fla.
Patrick Corey, Richmond, Va.
John Degroff, Nashville, Tenn.
Javier Dela Huerta, San Francisco, Calif.
Jade Dell, Chicago, Ill.
Carlton Dickerson, Charlottesville, Va.
Elizabeth Dorr, Omaha
Patrick Everett, San Diego, Calif.
William Finlaw III, Lincoln
Marylee Fithian, Minneapolis, Minn.
Peggy Galloway, Hartford, Iowa
Michael Gray, Dayton, Va.
Ladonna Green, San Diego, Calif.
Robert Griffin, Indianola, Iowa
David Grimm, Burlingame, Kan.
John Gordon, Thunnan, Iowa
Edward Hansen, Los Angeles, Calif.
Richard Harding, Concord, Mass.
Gordon Herzog, Flocissant, Mo.
Leah Hicks, Omaha
Jeaneane Hill, Bellevue, Wash.
WIlliam Jenks, Omaha
Paul Johnson, West Des Moines, Iowa
Rosemary Jurgmann, West Des Moines, Iowa
Mark Kemling, Omaha
Susan Koenig, Omaha
Dawn Leach, Cleveland, Ohio
David Leaming, Des Moines, Iowa
Jill Liske, Grand Island
Larry Little, Kokomo, Ind.
Michelle Maples, West Des Moines, Iowa
Kenneth Martin, Manor, Texas
Jean Mayberry, Omaha
Michael McMurty, Lincoln
Kristine Meinhard, Ames, Iowa
Gordon Minor, Indianapolis, Ind.
Richard Murphy, Miami, Fla.
Charles Phelan, Los Angeles, Calif.
Michael Perez, Seattle, Wash.
Lois Peterson, OMaha
Beverly Reddick, Ames, Iowa
Susan Rood, Omaha
Kathleen Ruser, Lincoln
Leroy Schoen, Lincoln
Susan Schoen, Lincoln
John Sebastian, Hollywood, Calif.
Robert Shanke, Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Timothy Shaw, Lincoln
Sara Sherrard, Charlottesville, Va.
Allen VandarLinden, Des Moines, Iowa
Jay Vetter, Lincoln
Maurean Vetter, Lincoln
Barbara Walburn, Chapel Hill, N.C.
James Wallasky, Ralston
Karen Weldin, Stigler, Okla.
Lorraine Wendell, Cheverlly, Md.
Mel White, Laguna Hills, Calif.
Douglas Williamson, Lincoln
Lee Williamson, Hayward, Calif.
Nancy Wilsen, Los Angeles, Calif.
William Wilson, Des Moines, Iowa
Scott Winkler, Omaha
Larry Wise, Kokomo, Ind.
Zavier Yager, Chicago, Ill.

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