Baltimore argued that they couldn’t protect the conservative group from rabid leftists so therefore they denied the conservative group their rights. Makes sense, right?
Baltimore city officials can’t ban a conservative Roman Catholic media outlet from holding a prayer rally at a city-owned pavilion during a U.S. bishops’ meeting next month, a federal judge has ruled, saying the First Amendment right to free speech is “at the heart of this case.”
U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander ruled late Tuesday that St. Michael’s Media Inc., also known as Church Militant, is likely to succeed on its claims that the city discriminated against it on the basis of its political views and violated its First Amendment free speech rights.
The judge’s order says city officials can’t prohibit the pavilion’s manager from contracting with Michigan-based St Michael’s Media to use the venue for a rally and conference it plans to hold on Nov. 16.
But the judge refused to set any court-ordered contractual terms for a rally. Hollander’s order said she “anticipates good faith negotiations, but expresses no opinion on the terms of a contract.”
The waterfront pavilion is across from a hotel where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to hold its national meeting Nov. 15 to Nov. 18. St. Michael’s said it deliberately picked the date and location for its rally to coincide with the bishops’ meeting. The group also said it held a peaceful, city-permitted rally at the same site during the bishops’ national meeting in 2018.
An advertisement for the planned rally has touted speeches by former Donald Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon and far-right agitator Milo Yiannopoulos.
The city says the gathering poses a threat to public safety, arguing the fringe group cheered on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January. The city also said Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagements attract counterprotesters and have led to violence and property damage, while Bannon “regularly calls for violence against government officials.”
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