Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gay Pride Organizers Seek To Exclude Anti-Gay Christian Evangelist

In Minneapolis (MN), organizers of a gay pride festival expected to draw 200,000 people want the Minneapolis Park Board to bar a Christian evangelist from handing out literature at the event. According to yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Park Board denied a booth to evangelist Brian Johnson, but approved a request that he be allowed to hand out anti-gay literature at Twin Cities Pride, saying that since it is a public event he is free to share his views so long as he does not disturb others. However festival organizers say they will file suit in federal court today seeking an injunction. They say Johnson is welcome to attend, but not to hand out literature, relying on the Supreme Court decision in Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston that allowed St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers to exclude an LGBT group from marching. The Park Board says, however, that the case is inapplicable; since Johnson was denied a booth at Twin Cities Pride, he is not part of the event.

UPDATE: Our Twin Cities (6/24) reports that organizers of the Twin Cities Pride Festival have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking an emergency order to reverse the decision of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board that would allow homosexual critic Brian Johnson to hand out at the festival written materials supporting his message of sin and repentance.

UPDATE2: On Top Magazine (6/26) reports that federal district court judge John Tunheim has refused to bar Brian Johnson from Loring Park during the Gay Pride event. Event organizers said: "As long as Mr. Johnson and his family do not create a disturbance, they can walk the Festival and distribute their leaflets and Bibles to willing attendees. But should their behavior be as troubling as it was at last year's festival, we shall ask Minneapolis Police to remove them."