Monday, April 04, 2011

Philadelphia Police Handling of Gay Pride Protesters Is Upheld

In Marcavage v. City of Philadelphia, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34999 (ED PA, March 31, 2011), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed a civil rights lawsuit filed by evangelical Christian street preacher Michael Marcavage against the city of Philadelphia. The lawsuit grew out of the action of police at four separate gay pride and gay marriage events at which Marcavage and members of his Repent America organization preached against homosexuality.  Police separated Marcavage and his group from the crowd and allowed them from a new location to preach using amplified sound, leaflets and large signs. Finding these actions to be valid neutral time, place and manner regulations of speech, the court said:  "the City has a legitimate interest in preventing Marcavage — as a counter-protestor of a permitted event — from interfering with the message of the permit holder and ensuring the safety of both the participants as well as Marcavage and his group."