SALISBURY, N.C. — A woman was ticketed and charged with simple assault when it was alleged that she kissed a street preacher, James Edward Belcher of Taylorsville, on the mouth during the Salisbury Pride festival held on June 25.

Joan Parker, 74, of Colfax, claims that she did not kiss him on the mouth, but only on the cheek, according to the Salisbury Post. She wanted the preacher to know that she loved him, “even if he is on the other side of the fence.” The Associated Press reported that he did not claim that she kissed him on the mouth and felt that the kiss was an attempt to silence “the preaching to those in need of salvation who practice a death style that they call a lifestyle.”

Dave Parker, president of PFLAG Transgender Network of Colfax and Joan Parker’s husband, said he was about two feet away when the incident happened and affirmed that the woman only kissed Belcher on the cheek.

“The Salisbury police were respectful, friendly, and performed their duty correctly in a professional manner,” Dave Parker said in an incident report he shared with qnotes.

Joan Parker has admitted she probably should not have kissed the protester, who was demonstrating without a permit. A Rowan County church had secured a permit to protest the festival but police eventually allowed as many as 200 other protesters to stay.

Two protestors and Parker were asked to leave the event and complied.

Parker’s court date is set for Sept. 12. Since this would be a first-time offense, if she is found guilty, she probably would be sentenced to community service for 30 days.

The festival drew about 2,000 and was the first for this Rowan County town.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.