Court order ends unconstitutional St. Louis policy banning literature distributionADF-allied attorney secures permanent injunction allowing Christian ministry to share faith at “PrideFest” event and other public locations
Friday, June 12, 2009
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge issued an order Thursday permanently prohibiting the city of St. Louis from banning a Christian ministry from distributing literature and speaking about their religious viewpoint at an annual “PrideFest” event celebrating homosexual behavior. An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney secured the order on behalf of the Apple of His Eye ministry, which means that city officials can no longer enforce an unconstitutional policy they used to keep the organization from sharing its faith three years ago.
“Christian groups shouldn’t be prohibited from expressing their beliefs at public locations,” said ADF-allied attorney Rick Nelson of the American Liberties Institute. “We are pleased with the court’s decision to lift an unconstitutional ban on expression in these areas throughout the city, allowing members of Apple of His Eye to peacefully exercise their First Amendment right to free speech at the PrideFest event.”
In June 2006, members of Apple of His Eye were threatened with arrest by St. Louis officials for handing out Christian literature and speaking about their faith at Tower Grove Park during the PrideFest event, which celebrates homosexual behavior. In April 2008, Nelson filed a lawsuit and a motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of the ministry against the city of St. Louis. The preliminary injunction order was granted last June, just four days before the 2008 PrideFest event took place.
The permanent injunction issued this week comes in time for members of the ministry to express their viewpoint at this year’s event, which takes place on June 27 and 28. The order protects the ministry’s literature distribution activities in the future at all public parks, public squares, and other public places within the city of St. Louis--including public sidewalks.
A Permanent injunction was issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, in Apple of His Eye v. City of St. Louis.