court rulings

Twin Cities Will Have to Squeeze Anti-Gay Bible Rhetoric Between Drag Queens + Bull Dykes

Wisconsin’s anti-gay public nuisances Brian and Lois Johnson will be able to distribute Bibles, spread the devil’s word, and wave around their signs at Twin Cities Pride, a federal Judge John Tunheim ruled, denying pride organizers’ demand the Johnsons keep away from their event, which they shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for in permits, security, and logistics. “The court’s task here is to balance these competing interests to the greatest extent possible- — to enable all speakers to exercise their constitutional rights,” the Judge Tunheim says, upholding Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s decision. “And then to depend on reasonable and law-abiding people to stay within proper limits.”

Which means the Johnsons (Brian is pictured, left), and any other hate leader, apparently has the right to violate the U.S. Supreme Court decision that specifically stated event organizers using public space have the right to decide who may participate and what message the event sends.

Judge Tunheim did note how the Johnsons could run afoul of his ruling: “If Johnson or another attendee’s exercise of First Amendment rights affect traffic flow or attendee safety — i.e., by setting up a quasi-‘booth’ in which other visitors stop and slow crowd movement; by carrying boxes of literature or objects so large that they impact crowd movement; by speaking with amplification or otherwise speaking so loudly that the speech is disruptive to other attendees; or by displaying signage that is so cumbersome as to impede the orderly flow of foot traffic — the Court trusts that MPRB police and other security will be well-prepared to address those issues and stop any disruption.”

So verbal disruptions are fine; physical ones are not.

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  • Nance

    Funny, I wonder what would have happened if the KKK had wanted to go to Juneteenth or the Nazis at a Jewish rally…

  • Michael

    @Nance: Exactly. I would find it hard to believe the KKK or Nazi groups would be allowed anywhere near other rallies. It’s unreal this double standard is applied to the LGBT community.

    For once I’d like to see the Boy Scouts reject anyone who’s Jewish or black and see how far they’d get in our court system.

  • B

    It sounds like they are being allowed to carry picket signs and hand out blurbs like other spectators can (they do not have to be allowed in the parade, due to the court ruling that let a Saint Patrick’s Day parade ban a gay group).

    To put it in perspective, there is a fundamentalist Christian group that regularly pickets the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, setting up shop by the cable-car turnaround at Powell and Market. They have rude signs and megaphones. Some drummers decided that the public would prefer drumming to religious ranting, so they show up too and drown out the Christians, which the drummers have a legal right to do – they can make as much noise as the Christians are allowed to make. Another guy decided to wave a large rainbow flag, just happening to position it so as to block a view of the Christians’ signs for people across the street. He has as much of a right to wave his flag as they do to hold up their signs. If it blocks a view of their signs, that’s too bad for them. And their megaphones can’t compete with the sound systems on the floats anyway.

    So there are things that can be done to handle these people – you can’t assault them but you have a legal right to drown them out by making as much noise as they are allowed to make, and you have no obligation to put your signs or flags down just so their signs can be seen.

    Given the legalities, I’d suggest that people in the Twin Cities area use the same approach that mitigates the issue in San Francisco (and note – there are only 4 or 5 of these religious nuts causing a problem, so the problem is fortunately localized, inconveniencing a small number of spectators but not the vast majority.

  • David

    If I lived up there, I’d be happy to bring small recycling bin (maybe a large trashcan on wheels) to the parade, and let folks line up to get their bibles and literature and then let me recycle it.
    Hmm, if obstructing pedestrians on the sidewalk is an issue, I’d probably use a smaller trash can and empty it into my pickup truck, and then recycle. As my friendly Real Estate agent would say, “That would be my good deed for the day.”

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