Waylon Cunningham said he was pleased with the results of an event he put together on Facebook that drew about two dozen demonstrators at the Chick-fil-A on Troup Highway from noon until about 3 p.m.
Cunningham said a local pastor stopped and talked to his group and gave his support.
“He said he was proud of what we were doing and he supported us,” Cunningham said. “We had some negative comments, including gestures, but we had twice as many positive comments, thumbs up and honks of support.”
Cunningham and others held signs proclaiming gay rights, but one supporter showed up with a sign, which Cunningham and several in the group agreed was offensive.
The sign's message, which could be deemed as vulgar, caused some motorists to call police, but Cunningham said when he saw the sign he made the man put it away.
However, Tyler police already had been called to the scene because of the sign.
“When the police got there I told them we made the guy put the sign up and the officer told us to keep on with what we were doing,” he said.
Event attendee Daniel Gill said he was upset with the sign because he believed it brought negativity to a message they were trying to spread.
“We actually lost our attempt to get our views out there. Our event was harmed by his actions,” Gill said.
But Cunningham disagreed, reiterating that there were many supporters showing their approval.
Martin has said previously that offensive language on a sign, verbally offensive language or certain actions could be a violation of law, and a person could be charged with disorderly conduct.
The person who had the sign apologized to the event organizers and stated on the Facebook page, “Trust me buddy if I would have known that my sign would have caused the bad publicity I would not have done it. But that's hindsight and I really do apologize.”
Cunningham said he hopes to keep gay rights in the forefront of topics that need to be addressed.
“There have been no voices supporting gay-marriage rights in Tyler, though there is a pro-gay rights community in Tyler. People need to know that this issue is not going away,” he said.