Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Philadelphia Anti-Gay Pride Protesters Lose Civil Rights Suit

Last week, a Pennsylvania federal district court handed a defeat to a group of evangelical Christians who brought civil rights claims after they were prevented from disseminating their anti-gay messages at a 2004 Philadelphia gay pride event. (See prior posting.) In Startzell v. City of Philadelphia, (ED PA, Jan. 18, 2007), the court held that Philadelphia's content-neutral permit requirement did not violate the group's First Amendment rights. It held that organizers of Philly Pride had the right to exclude the Christian group's contrary message from their event. The court found that the Philadelphia police acted to protect First Amendment rights and prevent violence at the event, saying that there is no constitutional right to drown out the speech of another person. Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer covered the decision and reported that an appeal is planned. [Thanks to How Appealing for the lead.]