Friday, May 15, 2009

Radical Group Sued By Church Under Little-Known Federal Provision

Alliance Defense Fund on Wednesday announced the filing of an interesting lawsuit in federal district court in Michigan. The Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances Act, 18 USC Sec. 248, in addition to protecting abortion clinics, contains a little-known provision banning forcible obstruction or intimidation of anyone exercising the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship. The complaint (full text) in Mount Hope Church v. Bash Back!, (WD MI, filed 5/13/2009), relying on these provisions (as well as common law trespass), seeks an injunction and damages against a self-described "Radical Trans/Queer" group, Bash Back!, that engaged in a protest, infiltration and disruption of the Church's service in November 2008.