A Wisconsin man who wants to hand out Bibles at the 40th Annual Twin Cities Pride festival in Loring Park this month will have to confine himself to a booth just outside of the event.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis issued a 41-page order Monday denying Brian Johnson’s request for an injunction that would force the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to allow him unfettered access to the festival grounds, reasoning that his constitutional challenge was unlikely to succeed.
Dot Belstler, Twin Cities Pride’s executive director, said the ruling came as welcome news.
But it’s unlikely to end the matter, which has been bouncing around the courts since 2009.
Nate Kellum, chief counsel with the Center for Religious Expression and Johnson’s lead attorney, issued a statement Monday indicating that other legal options are being explored.
“We are certainly disappointed in this ruling that fails to take Mr. Johnson’s First Amendment freedoms into account,” Kellum wrote. “Mr. Johnson should be allowed to hand out Bibles in a public area during a public festival and not be relegated to a ‘no pride’ zone where nobody bothers to go. Without an audience, Mr. Johnson is utterly deprived of his right to free speech.”
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