City to pay $127,000 to homophobic church leader

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The city of Syracuse, New York will pay $127,000 to a homophobic preacher, after a court ruled that it was illegal not to allow him to launch an anti-gay protest during the Pride event. Evangelical preacher Jim Deferio is well-known for his protests against LGBT events, holding signs that call on gay people to repent their sin and turn to God. The preacher launched legal action after he was blocked from protesting at the entrance to the CNY (Central New York) Pride festival in 2015 as the police did not let him get closer to the crowd of marchants. Deferio was told to move his protest across the street, but U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn ruled that the city’s actions violated his freedom of speech that should be protected by the country’s constitution. The outlet states that Deferio will receive $1 in nominal damages as well as $127,247 to cover legal fees and expenses, as ordered by the court. The city will reportedly be forced to borrow money to pay the expense. Judge Kahn had cited precedent that the First Amendment “applies to loathsome and unpopular speech with the same force as it does to speech that is celebrated and widely accepted.”

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