Assault at marriage rally

posted by Mike on December 17th, 2006

The Telegram & Gazette reports that my friend Sarah Loy was assaulted (shoved to the ground) by Larry Cirignano, executive director of CatholicVote.org, at an anti-gay-marriage rally in Worcester yesterday. Sarah was part of the pro-gay-marriage contingent.

Sarah Loy, 27, of Worcester was holding a sign in defense of same-sex marriage amid a sea of green “Let the People Vote” signs when Larry Cirignano of Canton, who heads the Catholic Citizenship group, ran into the crowd, grabbed her by both shoulders and told her, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then pushed her to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.

Updates:

  • The Worcester Republican blog tries to spin this as being Sarah’s fault. Way to throw ethics out the window, guys. If you have a problem with someone at a demonstration, and there are cops about, you can first talk with the person, then refer it to the police.
  • Photos posted at Indymedia.
  • Mass ResistanceWatch also chimes in.
  • Michael Ball has a good late-afternoon wrapup.

This is one of those one-in-a-hundred posts where I wish I had a Jay Rosen-type format, so updates to the original post could be handled elegantly.

Worcester police interview Larry Cirignano
Worcester police interview Cirignano. Indymedia photo.

Worcester police interview Sarah Loy
Worcester police interview Ms. Loy. Indymedia photo.

(There’s a blank wiki page for Cirignano here.)

Ray Flynn, Cardinal O'Malley, Larry Cirignano
Ray Flynn, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, and Larry Cirignano. Photo from Archdiocese of Boston.

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7 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On December 17, 2006 at 14:42 Dave McMahon said:

    Outrageous! I am sickened by this news. Anyone who knows Sarah knows how thoughtful and dedicated she is. Also, they picked the wrong person to mess with. I hope criminal charges are forthcoming – the whole thing reminds me of the time Zitomersky shoved that addict and AIDS worker to the ground. That sort of violence does not solve anything, and I hope this fool gets his just desserts in court.

  2. On December 18, 2006 at 03:34 dale said:

    Fascism is on the march. The Catholic Church is once again in lock step with the brown-shirt and jack-booted skull crackers. A Theocracy is not a Democracy – go practice your religion in your church. Do not beat people with a club until they submit to your religious indoctrinations and think exactly the way you do – we are not all Dominionists Reconstructionists or lemmings. Take your Bible and thump it some place else. Mr.Larry Cirignano you should be arrested, indicted, tried, and incarcerated for physical assault against that woman. What kind of man beats up a woman ?

  3. On December 18, 2006 at 09:46 Mike said:

    Do not beat people with a club until they submit to your religious indoctrinations and think exactly the way you do

    Hmmmm, this seems like a substantial exaggeration. Nobody was hit by a club. And if there is a pattern of aggression amongst the anti-gay-marriage folks at their rallies, I am not aware of it. It seems much more likely that this is a case of a guy losing his temper, not an object lesson that “That’s what happens if you’re a conservative, you hit people” or “That’s what happens to liberals, they get knocked down.” The political sides could just as easily have been reversed.

    Take your Bible and thump it some place else.

    Note that this very blog is about Bible thumping (explicit or implied). Me, I love Bible thumping.

  4. On December 18, 2006 at 13:03 sharilee said:

    Mike, we DID talk to the police, numerous times before the rally began. They ignored our requests to keep the two groups separate. Ms Loy did not have a permit to be on City Hall property, so she should have known better than to push her way through the rally crowd in order to get to center stage. No, I don’t condone violence. But the non-partisan bystanders I’ve heard from said there was no violence. At best, she tripped and fell because the walkway was in terrible shape.

    Ms Loy is welcome to have her own rally on the topic on another day. And I promise you, we won’t interfere. The odd thing about these protestors is that they talk about Christian love and end up spending their time shouting obscenitites to our supporters. We had a video crew on hand and were recording the whole time. I can’t believe the nasty talk I heard coming from them. I’m glad I didn’t bring my daughter with me.

  5. On December 18, 2006 at 14:03 Mike said:

    Sharilee, thanks for your comment.

    I’ve been to probably a dozen demonstrations at Worcester City Hall, not one of which had a permit. I wouldn’t think Sarah would need a permit to be there. I’m not the one to judge whether her presence was preventing your own, permitted demonstration.

    It’s good to hear you had a video crew there. Did they document the behavior of the pro-gay-marriage folks? Does this mean they have footage of whatever Mr. Cirignano did? Do they have footage of Ms. Loy preventing your demonstration from occurring?

  6. On February 11, 2007 at 22:36 Kevin said:

    The date for the hearing on the charge of violating Sarah Loy’s Civil Rights is set for
    April 2nd. The WPD has one video they’re reviewing, they don’t have the second which
    needs to be identified.

    Details
    http://worcester.indymedia.org/news/2007/02/14731.php

  7. On April 23, 2007 at 11:16 John Hosty said:

    In response to Sharilee, I must say that the sidewalk is fine, and can be checked by anyone who wishes to verify this truth. If you go to her site, or any other that tries to defend Cirignano, you’ll see how many different stories his supporters give. The people supporting Mrs. Loy however, have all stated the same thing. One eyewitness to this debockle is Rich Nangle, writer for the Worcester Telegram. He was not on either side, he was simply there to report what happened.

    Larry Cirignano was angry at seeing Mrs. Loy in his crowd, and reacted without thinking. Now he needs to suffer the ramifications of his actions.

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