Judge: anti-gay activist can’t be kept out of pride event
June 25th, 2010
In a truly mind-boggling decision, a judge in Minneapolis has decided that an anti-gay activist must be allowed to distribute anti-gay literature within the park which the gay pride event has rented from the city.
A federal judge ruled Friday that a restraining order would violate Johnson’s First Amendment rights.
The city’s park system fought Pride Fest in court.
Since the Fest is held in a public park, attorneys for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board argued on Johnson’s behalf, although they insisted they were merely trying to clarify the rules and were not advocating one viewpoint over another.
To recap, just so we know the law,
- The Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which marches down public streets, has the right to exclude gay people from marching so as to protect its “message”
- The Boy Scouts of America, who recruit in public schools, have the right to exclude gay people because they have a freedom of assembly right
- The Boy Scouts have the right to insist that their discriminatory policies can’t be used to deny them taxpayer-funded free rent
- The Twin Cities Pride Fest doesn’t have the right to deny entry into a park that they rented to someone who is there for the sole purpose of working against their message.
Yeah. And we’re the ones who they say want “special rights.”
UPDATE: WCCO provides additional information:
In a footnote, Tunheim proposed a compromise in which Twin Cities Pride could designate content-neutral “free speech zones” where anyone could distribute literature or display signs.
Pragmatically, they may be smart to allow such a zone. It would minimize disturbances and confrontations and would allow those who are there to seek a space where they can feel safe and free from hostility can avoid the area.
Johnson, of course, doesn’t want to be restricted in any way.
June 23rd, 2010
The Pride Parade in Croatia seems to have gone off without much problem. Yes, the neo-Nazis protested (they seem not to have read Scott Lively’s Pink Swastika), but riot police were on hand to protect the marchers. Check out some great pictures and commentary here.
You can’t even buy a right
June 23rd, 2010
Two stories today reflect how issues of justice, rights, fairness, and civil responsibility are often presumed to disappear the minute that gay folk arrive. Far too often it is assumed, indignantly, that civil governments belong to heterosexuals.
Take, for example, the situation in Philadelphia.
In 2000, the US Supreme Court found that the Boy Scouts of America are a private organization and that their freedom of association allowed them to exclude gay and/or atheist boys and men from participating. And I agree with that decision; the Boy Scouts should be able to limit their membership in whatever manner that they choose.
However, if they choose to operate as a private organization, they are not entitled to preferential treatment from the taxpayers, who include a large number of gay people, atheists, and their family, friends, neighbors, and allies. In other words, discriminate however you like, but don’t do it on my dollar.
In Philadelphia the city counsel had passed protections that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But they found that they were in conflict with this policy when it came to the Boy Scouts. The Cradle of Liberty council has been leasing nearly 2,000 square feet of office space from the city at the cost of one dollar per year. So Philadelphia said that the local group either needed to renounce the discrimination policies of the national group or they were not going to get any more freebies.
But the leadership of the Boy Scouts believe that they are entitled to have it both ways. It’s discrimination, they cried, to not give us free rent. We can exclude who we want, and to insist that we open our city funded doors to all residents is a violation of our free speech rights.
So they went to court arguing that not only are they entitle to free assembly and free speech but that they are also entitled to free rent.
And a jury agreed. (WHYY)
A jury in Philadelphia has decided the city cannot evict a local Boy Scouts group from a city-owned building because of a national policy that bans gays.
Cradle of Liberty Council lawyer Jason Gosselin says the ruling means one simple fact: the Scouts can stay in their building in Center City rent free.
Meanwhile in Minneapolis, it seems like gay people don’t have a right to assembly, even if the city isn’t subsidizing them. (Tribune)
The gay pride organization paid the city more than $36,000 for the use of a park. And they are trying to keep an evangelist from coming into the festival and disrupting the event.
But the city thinks that the preacher has a right to free speech – something that is startlingly missing from gay folk.
But Pride Festival organizers say they have the right to keep Johnson off the grounds because they paid more than $36,000 for the use of the park. Festival manager Jim Kelley says Johnson is free to preach his message across the street.
The Minneapolis Park Board is backing the activist on free speech grounds, so the festival organziers are going to court Wednesday seeking an injuction to reverse that decision.
Stanley Cup coming to Chicago Pride
June 22nd, 2010
If you make it to the Gay Pride parade in Chicago on June 27, keep your eye out for the Chicago Gay Hockey Association; they’ll be the guys on roller blades “skating” down the street. And with them will be Brent Sopel, defenseman with the reigning Chicago Blackhawk, who will be marching with his family and with the Stanley Cup, the international ice hockey trophy entrusted into the keeping of the winning team each year. (Sun Times)
“I am honored to do it,” said Sopel, who will be accompanied by wife, Kelly, and his four kids, Jacob, 12, Lyla, 8, Jayla, 6, and Paul, 20, whom they adopted three years ago after Paul’s parents died within six months of each other.
“The power of the Cup is incomprehensible, and we recognize the importance of doing this,” said McDonough, who has arranged for the Stanley Cup to be flown back from the National Hockey League draft in Los Angeles 15 hours early. “It’s important for the city and important for the franchise.”
Sopel was motivated to participate by the story of Brandon Burke, a young hockey player and legacy who came out in a way that inspired acceptance within the hockey world and who died this year in a driving accident.
But the Stanley Cup will not be the only sports icon at Chicago Pride. Living legend Ernie Banks (“Mr. Cub”), a Baseball Hall of Famer who was the first black player for the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and who went on to play 18 years for the franchise, will be there to represent the club. The Chicago Cubs, will be, to the best of my knowledge, the first professional sports team to sponsor their own float in a gay pride parade.
GOP Gubernatorial candidate marches in Boston gay pride
June 20th, 2010
We are accustomed to Democratic candidates – often for high office – showing support and seeking voters among their gay constituents. But last weekend an event occurred that is telling about the future of our community. Charlie Baker, the Republican candidate for Governor, joined the Democratic candidate Deval Patrick, by marching in Boston’s gay pride parade.
Well, yes, it is Massachusetts. And Baker’s running mate is openly gay. But still, this is the GOP candidate.
And perhaps the most interesting aspect is that no one even seem to think that this is in any way interesting. No national party members are ranting. Local GOP officials are happy. Senators from Alabama and Oklahoma are not calling for his head. Rush isn’t frothing and Newt isn’t out looking for a write-in to support.
No one cares.
Oh, the MassResistance crowd is angry (especially because he marched with the guys who set up KnowThyNeighbor.org). But they can’t get anyone to return their calls these days.
And that is an encouraging sign.
Quarter of Iceland’s Population Turn Out For Reykjavik Pride
August 13th, 2009
The eleventh annual Reykjavik Gay Pride parade and outdoor concert with Pall Oskar (probably Iceland’s biggest pop star) attracted about 80,000 people to the middle of Reykjavik on Saturday.
Involving roughly a quarter of Iceland’s entire population, the sheer size of the party is tribute to Iceland’s leading equal rights legislation and the citizens’ inclusive nature.
This is what a truly post-gay society looks like:
Iceland does not have a gay village. It does not even have many gay bars and clubs at all. But that has nothing to do with Iceland being a strict, conservative society…quite the opposite in fact.
Peek into a Reykjavik gay bar on a Saturday night and you will see a clientele anything but exclusively gay. And if you think all the dozens of other bars in town are straight-only, think again. People in Reykjavik go partying in places dictated by their taste in music, their taste in décor or simply by their bossy friends. They do not need to choose a venue based only on their sexuality.