Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Anti-Gay Priests Who Protested A Nashville Pride Festival

Photo by Melany Rochester on Unsplash

Two anti-gay protesters won an appeals case involving whether or not they should have been moved from their protesting spot.

Back in 2015, Tennessee preachers, John McGlone and Jeremy Peters, were protesting outside of the LGBT Pride Festival in Nashville. The two used amplification equipment to spread their anti-LGBTQ message, according to AP and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Eventually, the priests' protest was deemed loud and disruptive, enough for city police to remove them from their spot. The two men say that their removal was unconstitutional. Now, it seems the U.S. Court of Appeals agrees.

The Tennessean reports that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals filed a ruling on Wednesday stating the removal of the preachers was in violation of their First Amendments rights.

Image via Pexels

The 6th Circuit Court stated that the Nashville Police restricted the men’s rights based on the content of their speech itself, which became evident when the city’s defense attorney stated the preachers’ message of intolerance interfered with the festival’s message.

"Nashville’s explanation leaves no doubt that but for the anti-homosexuality message that McGlone and Peters were advancing as they stood on the sidewalk, they would not have been excluded," the order says. "How, then, can Nashville argue that its restriction of the preachers’ speech was not content based?"

In addition, the court ruled that since the protest was separate and did not directly interrupt the festival, the city had no right to remove the two men.

"Unlike, for example, a (Make America Great Again)-hatted man claiming a First Amendment right to stand behind Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally, McGlone and Peters did not insist on entering the Pride Festival, let alone participating in the Pride Festival’s speech," the ruling explained. "They stood outside and expressed a contrary message."

Not every judge on the 6th Circuit Court agreed with this ruling. Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore thought that the protest was disruptive enough because of its excessive loudness.

h/t: The San Francisco Chronicle, The Tennessean

What do you think?