Conway, Arkansas- A Conway area farmer says he was exercising his constitutional right when he spread 3 tons of horse, cow, and pig manure along the route of the community’s first gay rights parade June 27.
Wesley Bono, 35, Monday pleaded innocent to dumping manure on the parade route and in front of the home of a couple who organized the Pride weekend.
Bono told the judge that he was “exercising his constitutional right to free speech”.
Outside the court Bono expanded on what he sees as a civil rights issue.
“Under the First Amendment, a man is allowed to protest. That’s what I was doing,” Bono told KATV. “I didn’t do it as a hate crime, or any crime at all.”
His trial is set for Sept. 16. If convicted, he could be sentenced to perform community service and pay for the cleanup. Conway officials have not said how much it cost them to clean up the mess.
City crews worked for hours removing the manure, but one the streets were cleared and hosed down, the parade went on.
Meanwhile, two former radio disc jockeys have pleaded innocent to handing out gay pornography at the parade.
Phillip Beard and Christine Brown are charged with obscenity. The two were disc jockeys at KABZ-FM in Little Rock at the time.
They are accused of handing out obscene material to minors. A 16-year-old boy said Beard, dressed only in a skimpy black swimsuit during the parade, gave him a DVD of gay porn.
The station fired the pair following the incident.
“This is an important case, but it’s mostly important as a societal statement,” said prosecutor H.G. Foster. “There are very few who would disagree that when it comes to distribution of explicit materials, generally as a society, we think that’s unacceptable.”