Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]wineandwenches)

Christian activists vow to appeal dismissal of freedom-of-speech suit in gay pride protest

U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel on Thursday granted a summary judgment for the city and the event organizers, Philly Pride Presents Inc.

"There is no constitutional right to drown out the speech of another person," Stengel wrote in the 52-page judgement.

The activists, whose case received extensive coverage in the Christian media, argued that the city had violated their First Amendment rights by arresting them at an event on a public street. They claimed police silenced them because of the content of their message. A city judge later dismissed the criminal charges against the 11 defendants.

Organizers of the gay-pride event initially tried to block the protesters from entering, but police escorted the activists in while attempting to confine them to the fringes. The protesters, using bullhorns and signs, were arrested after they disobeyed orders to move. Police said the crowd was threatening to get violent.

Stengel said the gay-pride event had received proper city permits, and the evangelists had neglected to take alternative means to communicate their message, including applying for a permit to hold a counterprotest. He called the activists' claims "simplistic."

Sure, you may have freedom of speech, but you also have to do things like.... GET A PERMIT!

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