Two street preachers won a case against the city of Nashville, Tenn., after they were prevented from preaching outside a gay pride festival in June 2015, reported The Tennessean. A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Sept. 19 said Nashville violated John McGlone and Jeremy Peters’ First Amendment rights, overturning the previous ruling by a U.S. district court.
McGlone and Peters were preaching against homosexuality using bullhorns on the sidewalk outside the festival at a park when an off-duty police officer ordered them to leave. The two men moved twice and were across the street before they were allowed to continue.
The city argued it restricted McGlone and Peters’ activity not based on content but because the intolerant message “interfered” with the festival. The 6th Circuit didn’t buy it.
“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 ruling concluded. “How, then, can Nashville argue that its restriction of the preachers’ speech was not content based?” It added that because the men were not trying to participate in or speak on behalf of the festival, the city had no authority to ask them to leave. —Rachel Lynn Aldrich