Texas Court Rules Police May Form Human Barricades to Block Opposition to ‘Gay’ Pride

Rapier108
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FORT WORTH, Texas The highest criminal court in Texas has ruled that it is permissible for police to form human barricades to physically block dissenters from engaging with attendees of "gay pride" events in situations where there is a possibility that the hearers might become violent.

On Wednesday, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the conviction of a preacher and a member of his congregation who had been previously found not guilty of "interfering with public duties" for crossing a barricade that was meant to separate them from attendees of a homosexual festival in Fort Worth.

"We agree with the sentiment expressed by the trial court judge that [the men] literally crossed the line, from engaging in purportedly protected speech to physically interfering with a lawful police order," a divided court ruled.

As previously reported, Joey Faust and other members of Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Texas, were physically blocked by police in October 2012 while attempting to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with attendees of the Fort Worth "Ride the Rainbow" pride parade.

Faust states that as he and others were preaching and distributing tracts to those in the parade, suddenly, the police formed a human blockade across the public walkway.

"The police lined up [across the street] and said, 'You can go no further," he told Christian News Network. "We were forbidden to cross the street and they wouldn't tell us if we were being detained."

Faust said that as he stood for some time watching others being allowed to pass by the human blockade, except for anyone that was present to witness to attendees, it became obvious that the police had an agenda.

http://christiannews.net/2015/12/10/texas-court-rules-police-may-form-human-barricades-to-block-opposition-to-gay-pride-events/

So because the homosexuals might "become violent," others' should have their rights of free speech removed and arrested.

Welcome to HomoNazi Germany. If the roles were reversed, the homosexuals would have been allowed to say and do whatever they wanted to the Christians who were marching.
wannaggie
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This is like a policeman in Pakistan arresting a woman for not wearing a Burka, because if she is walking around in western clothes on the street unescorted, she might incite men to rape her.
The Shank Ag
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Why go to a gay pride festival to try to change minds on homosexuality. Like going to Chilifest and preaching about the negative effects of beer and country music.
Sasappis
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Why go to a gay pride festival to try to change minds on homosexuality. Like going to Chilifest and preaching about the negative effects of beer and country music.
Why does anyone have to justify their free speech?
Rapier108
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The Fred Phelps Cult (aka the WBC) intentionally does things to incite violence (in order to sue for millions), but the US Supreme Court said their right to protest is protected speech and cannot be blocked/removed by the cops.

Time for these people to due the city of Dallas in federal court for violating their rights.
Squirrel Master
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The Free Speech is fine, they were being stopped from doing that. I think its reasonable to not allow them to physically interfere with activities occuring and the police doing their job.
Paladin05
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From the lower court's recitation of the facts:
quote:
Faust approached the police line, and Genualdo told him he could not go down Main Street. Faust told Genualdo that he "didn't agree with that," and asked if he was being detained. Genualdo told him no, that "he could go any other direction, east, west[,] or north, but he wasn't going southbound at that time." Faust told Genualdo that he "was working for a lesbian, . . . that [he] needed to put earrings and a bow in [his] hair, and . . . referred to [him] as a ***." Despite Genualdo's warnings that he was not allowed to cross, Faust crossed the police line. Genualdo arrested Faust. Around the same time, Marroquin attempted to push through the line of officers, and he was also arrested.
I actually agree with the lower court's opinion that the police interfered with the protestors' free speech rights, but let's not pretend this group was just trying to peacefully spread the love of Jesus Christ. Go read the opinion of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. This "church" is a Westboro Baptist type group that shouts profanity and deliberately attempts to provoke a breach of the peace. Probably not the group you want to use to argue that we've become HomoNazi Germany.
Captain Pablo
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Good grief.

They can stand on the side of the road and yell, but they don't have the right to physically interfere with the event.

police can protect a political event. You can protest the political event

But you bust through a police line, then you go to jail..
Sasappis
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quote:
Good grief.

They can stand on the side of the road and yell, but they don't have the right to physically interfere with the event.

police can protect a political event. You can protest the political event

But you bust through a police line, then you go to jail..
Especially if the one group has a permit for the location of their event. The protesters cannot be denied their meaningful right to protest by being kept away from the event, but that is different than crossing a police line to interfere with the event.
Captain Pablo
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quote:
quote:
Good grief.

They can stand on the side of the road and yell, but they don't have the right to physically interfere with the event.

police can protect a political event. You can protest the political event

But you bust through a police line, then you go to jail..
Especially if the one group has a permit for the location of their event. The protesters cannot be denied their meaningful right to protest by being kept away from the event, but that is different than crossing a police line to interfere with the event.


Yep. Westboro should be able to holler and scream whatever hateful sh/t they want to

Although I am very much in favor of a much larger buffer between something like a funeral and the Westboro clowns

But a parade? Speech should be fair game. Just keep your grubby hands to yourself
TxTarpon
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quote:
Why does anyone have to justify their free speech?
Cause government says so.

aggie kid
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From the dissent, the church members were shouting some pretty hateful things (not illegal); and a member of the church had attacked a parade attendee the previous year (illegal).

From my understanding, the police set up a line and prevented the church members from approaching the parade attendees, not from talking to them.

The speech and religious beliefs of the KBC members weren't infringed.
Sasappis
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The facts of this case pretty close and I tend to think the police were denying them the right to exercise their free speech:


quote:
Sergeant Genualdo testified during the bench trial that he first came in contact with Faust before the parade started. He asked Faust and the Kingdom Baptist Church members to join with other protesters to "have them in one area so they could still do their demonstration but just co-locate them." Sergeant Genualdo testified that the purpose of controlling the groups was "[t]o prevent a breach of the peace." He said that they "were trying to make sure that there were no physical altercations that took place." When he first asked Faust if his group would move, Faust "declined," and Sergeant Genualdo said "okay." Sergeant Genualdo then moved along with his team to another location along the parade route where they "maintain[ed their] position throughout the duration of the parade as it went by." Sergeant Genualdo testified that, as the end of the parade was passing the officers, there were "some crowds of civilians" walking down Main Street behind the parade. At that time, Sergeant Rachel DeHoyos and Lieutenant Glen Verrett ordered Team One and Team Five to form a police skirmish line. The officers' intent was to block off the southbound direction on Main Street in order to temporarily prevent the Kingdom Baptist Church members from going further south. The police were trying to "maintain a space" between the church members and the "trail end" of people supporting the parade in order to avoid any confrontation that could escalate into violence between the two groups. Sergeant Genualdo emphasized that the skirmish line "was not intended to be permanent." He stated that it was "a delay and [the church members] were going to be allowed to proceed southbound once we determined there was a safe time distance between the two."


Appellant Faust encountered Sergeant Genualdo at the skirmish line. Sergeant Genualdo testified that he "held out his arms and told [Faust] he couldn't proceed any further for the time being." Faust asked Sergeant Genualdo if he was being detained, and Sergeant 3 Genualdo told Faust that he was not being detained, and that he was free to proceed in any direction other than southbound down Main Street "at that time." Sergeant Genualdo then 4 testified that Faust "began to physically berate [him], told [him] that [he] was working for a lesbian, told [him] that [he] needed to put earrings and a bow in [his] hair," and referred to Sergeant Genualdo as "a ***." Faust told Sergeant Genualdo that "he was going to cross 5 the line and [Sergeant Genualdo] had better not try to stop him or he was going to sue [him]." Faust then crossed "two or three feet past the skirmish line into the street," at which time Sergeant Genualdo placed Faust under arrest for Interference with Public Duties and charged him with violating Texas Penal Code Section 38.15(a)(1). Although neither appellant was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Officer Genualdo testified that he believed that language used by Faust violated the Disorderly Conduct statute and was indicative of the language that Faust had used throughout the day. Officer Genualdo testified that he was not concerned 6 about Faust expressing his religious views. Rather, Officer Genualdo's testimony reflected his belief that Faust would likely direct the same type of language toward the parade supporters that he had used toward Officer Genualdo, which, in Officer Genualdo's mind, waslanguage that was prohibited under the Disorderly Conductstatute because it would have likely incited violence.

On cross examination, Faust's counsel established that other people were allowed to cross the skirmish line, but Faust was not. Sergeant Genualdo explained that this was "due to the previous history the department has experienced with [Faust]," and that "the likelihood for violence was increased if [Faust] went and met with the trail end of the parade." The officers wanted to "prevent that from occurring."

Sergeant DeHoyos testified that there were altercations between the Kingdom Baptist Church protestors and the parade supporters and participants after last year's gay prideparade. In her police report, which was offered into evidence by appellants as Defense Exhibit 1, Sergeant DeHoyos described the history of violence involving the Kingdom Baptist Church members:

I worked the event last year and was present and observed several breaches of the peace caused by these individuals. These protestors were a group from Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Tx. They had extreme anti-homosexual views and yelled and screamed disparaging remarks at the persons attending the Gay Pride Parade. Examples that I heard were: "I hope you and your children die in a fiery crash" and "you should just go ahead and kill yourself you ***got!" Some of the statements uttered last year did provoke violence and incited at least one physical fight. Two other arrests were made when they used offensive language. 7

I also had previous knowledge that these persons from Kingdom Baptist church often come to downtown Fort Worth on Friday and Saturday nights and "street preach." They are well known and documented to use foul, abusive and offensive language which by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace. In some cases, the foul, abusive and offensive language is directed toward individuals whom they believe are homosexuals. As a result of these actions, one of their members was arrested for Assault Bodily Injury/Hate Crime Enhancement.

The cop really seems to focus on the protester's language:
quote:
In order to keep a breach of the peace from occurring and to ensure the safety of both the parade attendees and the Kingdom Baptist Church group, I ordered Zero Tolerance Officers to form a skirmish line at 300 Main and keep the Kingdom Baptist Church group away from the parade attendees. . . . I initially had four officers on the east side of the street and had to call for additional ZT Officers as the Kingdom Baptist Church group was attempting to push through our skirmish line. ARR1/Marroquin and another unidentified black male stepped off the curb line and were physically attempting to push through the line. I had to push them back and told them to get back on the curb. Marroquin continually attempted to break through the line, and I had to push him back at least four times. Officer Medders, Officer Gray and Officer Johnson also had to push him back. Marroquin kept asking if he was being detained and I told him he was not detained, but he could not walk past me. I told him he could walk back the other direction. I told him if he went past me I could not guarantee his safety, he told me "I didn't ask you to watch for my safety" and attempted to walk past me and I pushed him back again. Marroquin again attempted to push past myself and Officer Gray by forcing his shoulder between the two of us. This action was interfering and disrupting me from exercising and performing my duty to keep a breach of the peace from occurring as imposed by law. I then arrested ARR1/Marroquin for Interference with Public Duties of a Peace Officer.
Sasappis
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quote:
From the dissent, the church members were shouting some pretty hateful things (not illegal); and a member of the church had attacked a parade attendee the previous year (illegal).

From my understanding, the police set up a line and prevented the church members from approaching the parade attendees, not from talking to them.

The speech and religious beliefs of the KBC members weren't infringed.
The church member who committed the assault the prior year was not at the skirmish line when the folks were stopped from protesting. I don't get to deny you your rights because someone in a group you are associated with did something wrong one time.
AggieHank86
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quote:
Good grief.

They can stand on the side of the road and yell, but they don't have the right to physically interfere with the event.

police can protect a political event. You can protest the political event

But you bust through a police line, then you go to jail..
Perhaps the first time that I have ever been in 100% agreement with every word of a Pablo post.
Captain Pablo
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quote:
quote:
Good grief.

They can stand on the side of the road and yell, but they don't have the right to physically interfere with the event.

police can protect a political event. You can protest the political event

But you bust through a police line, then you go to jail..
Perhaps the first time that I have ever been in 100% agreement with every word of a Pablo post.


Well it is the holiday season
Sasappis
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Here is where I disagree with the Court:

quote:
The appellate court held that the skirmish line was not narrowly tailored to serve the government's interest in public safety because all members of the Kingdom Baptist Church were barred from proceeding down the street merely because of their association with the church. However, we find that, while a regulation of the time, place, or manner of protected speech must be narrowly tailored to serve the government's legitimate, content-neutral interest, it need not be the least restrictive or least intrusive means of doing so. Rather, the 44 narrow tailoring requirement is met "so long as the . . . regulation promotes a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation." 45

The government has a significant interest in ensuring public safety and order. "It 46 is a traditional exercise of the States' police powers to protect the health and safety of their citizens." Police officers have lawful authority to maintain public safety, particularly when 47 crowds of people are gathered, and there is the perceived possibility of a riot or other threat to public safety. A government must have some ability to protect from harm a speaker, the 48 audience, and public and private property near the place of a potentially hostile speech environment. The Supreme Court has clearly expressed the importance of public safety in noting that, "[w]hen clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic upon the public streets, or other immediate threat to public safety, peace, or order appears, the power of the State to prevent or punish is obvious." 50

The officers' decision to prevent all members of the Kingdom Baptist Church from crossing the skirmish line was reasonable in light of the information they had received about previousinstances of violent confrontations erupting between church members and gay pride parade supporters. Officer DeHoyos was clear that the skirmish line was implemented 51 because the officers were concerned for the safety of both the protestors and the parade supporters and participants. The officers' goal in preventing potentially dangerous 52 confrontations had the highest probability of being achieved by creating a temporary separation of time and space between the two groups. Absent this physical separation, a nonviolent and peaceful end to the parade might not have been achieved. Moreover, the fact that a confrontation had not yet occurred is irrelevant. The police officers were required 53 to assess the situation, and their decision that it presented a potential danger, even though a confrontation had not yet occurred, was a reasonable one. Thus, we find that the police officers narrowly tailored the restriction to serve a significant governmental interest. We 54 next look to whether there were ample alternative channels of communication left open to appellants.
Physically stopping certain members of the public from peacefully walking down an open street while allowing other members of the public to traverse the same street is not narrowly tailored. Crossing a police line separating two groups of people is different than being denied the right to be where other people are because the government does not like your speech.

You either close the parade route or you don't, and in this case it appears the route was closed at one time but then opened when the parade had passed. A police line across the back of the parade moving with the marchers would have been narrowly tailored but that is not what happened here.


http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=c90eff29-f56e-45e5-afed-814fef29f126&coa=coscca&DT=OPINION&MediaID=e3fb311c-cc2e-47f4-aea9-f207fc95cc55
aggie kid
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quote:
quote:
From the dissent, the church members were shouting some pretty hateful things (not illegal); and a member of the church had attacked a parade attendee the previous year (illegal).

From my understanding, the police set up a line and prevented the church members from approaching the parade attendees, not from talking to them.

The speech and religious beliefs of the KBC members weren't infringed.
The church member who committed the assault the prior year was not at the skirmish line when the folks were stopped from protesting. I don't get to deny you your rights because someone in a group you are associated with did something wrong one time.

But they weren't prevented from protesting. They were still able to say whatever they wanted. The cops came to the reasonable conclusion that if the two groups came into direct proximity, violence might occur, and they took nonaggressive steps to protect all parties.

In other words, I do agree with the Court excerpt from your last post.
Sasappis
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While their right to protest may not have been completely denied, it was restricted when not necessary and when other less restrictive means were avaliable. That limitation of Liberty was unwarranted and something I disagree with. It is sad that the court decided to condone this loss of Liberty.
Federale01
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Sure, WBB folks have a right to protest funerals, but they do not have the right to walk up to the widow and start a conversation with her. An conversely, police are charged with keeping people away from WBB people who are protesting. Police do such things all the time and it has always been held to be consistent with the law. Remember when the Klan used to march in the streets? Police regularly lines the routes to allow them to exercise their first amendment rights in a safe and secure manner. With a history of violent confrontation in the past from the group, I tend to side with the court's view on this.

Additionally, SCOTUS has determined that it is acceptable to limit the area that protestors can assembly as long as you do not deny protestors general access to the events.

Edit: To respond to Sasappis. Yeah, them allowing some civilians access but not others is problematic. But, based on past behavior and events that day, I don't fault the police from preventing a group who is prone to violence and inciting rhetoric from being granted access. You still can't yell fire in a crowded theater.
wannaggie
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quote:
quote:
Good grief.

They can stand on the side of the road and yell, but they don't have the right to physically interfere with the event.

police can protect a political event. You can protest the political event

But you bust through a police line, then you go to jail..
Especially if the one group has a permit for the location of their event. The protesters cannot be denied their meaningful right to protest by being kept away from the event, but that is different than crossing a police line to interfere with the event.
Free speech registration AKA "permitting" is by definition a law limiting the free expression of speech. Such requirements should be void on their face as violations of the 1st Amendment, but we live in a brave new world where "freedoms" always come with air quotes.

I fully support legal equality for all LGBTQQA persons. I fully support the legal right of Westboro types to stand in a public place and yell "God hates f--s" at other people. Both groups' rights come from the same principle. You can't allow one and prohibit the other without accepting the notion that government gets to decide who can speak and what they can say and when they can say it; and in that case, our civil liberties are already a walking corpse, it's just going to take another 10 years for the brain to receive the message that it's dead.
wannaggie
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quote:

quote:
Rather, Officer Genualdo's testimony reflected his belief that Faust would likely direct the same type of language toward the parade supporters that he had used toward Officer Genualdo, which, in Officer Genualdo's mind, waslanguage that was prohibited under the Disorderly Conductstatute because it would have likely incited violence.

On cross examination, Faust's counsel established that other people were allowed to cross the skirmish line, but Faust was not. Sergeant Genualdo explained that this was "due to the previous history the department has experienced with [Faust]," and that "the likelihood for violence was increased if [Faust] went and met with the trail end of the parade." The officers wanted to "prevent that from occurring."

Sergeant DeHoyos testified that there were altercations between the Kingdom Baptist Church protestors and the parade supporters and participants after last year's gay prideparade. In her police report, which was offered into evidence by appellants as Defense Exhibit 1, Sergeant DeHoyos described the history of violence involving the Kingdom Baptist Church members:

I worked the event last year and was present and observed several breaches of the peace caused by these individuals. These protestors were a group from Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Tx. They had extreme anti-homosexual views and yelled and screamed disparaging remarks at the persons attending the Gay Pride Parade. Examples that I heard were: "I hope you and your children die in a fiery crash" and "you should just go ahead and kill yourself you ***got!" Some of the statements uttered last year did provoke violence and incited at least one physical fight. Two other arrests were made when they used offensive language. 7

I also had previous knowledge that these persons from Kingdom Baptist church often come to downtown Fort Worth on Friday and Saturday nights and "street preach." They are well known and documented to use foul, abusive and offensive language which by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace. In some cases, the foul, abusive and offensive language is directed toward individuals whom they believe are homosexuals. As a result of these actions, one of their members was arrested for Assault Bodily Injury/Hate Crime Enhancement.




So let me get this straight -- if someone in an old hoopty buick drives down my street blasting loud gangsta rap (which is an art form which is made up almost entirely of a guy yelling angrily and calling someone a fa--got) at 3am and it "incites me" to grab a baseball bat and violate the public peace by beating his car, the police will show up and arrest the driver of the car, and in the future the police will form a line on my street prohibiting anyone from driving down the street playing really loud gangsta music because it increases "the likelihood for violence"?

Sasappis
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But the permit in this setting actually defines the rights.

For example if you have a parade permit, it is your event and you get to define who participates. I can exclude people from marching in the parade and the protesters don't get to claim free speech and march in the midst of my group.

However, my right to control my event doesn't come at the cost of the others freedom. That is my issue with the police action in this case. If the police formed their line to keep protest out of the parade route that is a legitimate restriction. But that isn't what happened here. The parade had past, the street was open and yet select people were stopped from using the street because of their speech.
wannaggie
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quote:
Here is where I disagree with the Court:

quote:
The appellate court held that the skirmish line was not narrowly tailored to serve the government's interest in public safety because all members of the Kingdom Baptist Church were barred from proceeding down the street merely because of their association with the church. However, we find that, while a regulation of the time, place, or manner of protected speech must be narrowly tailored to serve the government's legitimate, content-neutral interest, it need not be the least restrictive or least intrusive means of doing so. Rather, the 44 narrow tailoring requirement is met "so long as the . . . regulation promotes a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation." 45

The government has a significant interest in ensuring public safety and order. "It 46 is a traditional exercise of the States' police powers to protect the health and safety of their citizens." Police officers have lawful authority to maintain public safety, particularly when 47 crowds of people are gathered, and there is the perceived possibility of a riot or other threat to public safety. A government must have some ability to protect from harm a speaker, the 48 audience, and public and private property near the place of a potentially hostile speech environment. The Supreme Court has clearly expressed the importance of public safety in noting that, "[w]hen clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic upon the public streets, or other immediate threat to public safety, peace, or order appears, the power of the State to prevent or punish is obvious." 50

The officers' decision to prevent all members of the Kingdom Baptist Church from crossing the skirmish line was reasonable in light of the information they had received about previousinstances of violent confrontations erupting between church members and gay pride parade supporters. Officer DeHoyos was clear that the skirmish line was implemented 51 because the officers were concerned for the safety of both the protestors and the parade supporters and participants. The officers' goal in preventing potentially dangerous 52 confrontations had the highest probability of being achieved by creating a temporary separation of time and space between the two groups. Absent this physical separation, a nonviolent and peaceful end to the parade might not have been achieved. Moreover, the fact that a confrontation had not yet occurred is irrelevant. The police officers were required 53 to assess the situation, and their decision that it presented a potential danger, even though a confrontation had not yet occurred, was a reasonable one. Thus, we find that the police officers narrowly tailored the restriction to serve a significant governmental interest. We 54 next look to whether there were ample alternative channels of communication left open to appellants.
Physically stopping certain members of the public from peacefully walking down an open street while allowing other members of the public to traverse the same street is not narrowly tailored. Crossing a police line separating two groups of people is different than being denied the right to be where other people are because the government does not like your speech.

You either close the parade route or you don't, and in this case it appears the route was closed at one time but then opened when the parade had passed. A police line across the back of the parade moving with the marchers would have been narrowly tailored but that is not what happened here.


http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=c90eff29-f56e-45e5-afed-814fef29f126&coa=coscca&DT=OPINION&MediaID=e3fb311c-cc2e-47f4-aea9-f207fc95cc55
Exactly. It was a gay pride parade. Therefore it is extremely likely that the overwhelming majority of spectators and bystanders were pro-gay. Therefore, wouldn't the crazy church folks have the same chance of "inciting violence" standing freely with other spectators as they would if they were allowed to directly interact with parade participants? Once random participants from the street were allowed to follow along behind the parade, that portion of the street was no longer deserving of special narrowly tailored separation. Therefore the crazy church folks were denied access to a public space solely because they are crazy church folks. That is a violation of their civil liberties which allow them to be crazy church folks.

Federale01
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To answer your question, no it is not just as likely to cause violence if you are in the crowd as opposed to next to me. Americans are used to people expressing counter views and protesting. And the overwhelming majority agree with that right even if they disagree with your message. But if you get in my face and use language like the guy did to the cop (but likely worse), it greatly changes the dynamic. Then you are going after me personally and I would find it far more threatening.
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