Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Aussie Gays Win Pope Protest Battle

365gay.com is reporting that an Australian Court has struck down the draconian regulations that were passed to restrict the speech and actions of anyone who might want to voice protest over the visit of the Nazi Pope, Benedict XVI, in conjunction with World Youth Day. The new regulations had made behavior that "caused annoyance or inconvenience" to festival participants punishable by fines up $5,300. The language of the regulations was thus so open ended and vague that in addition to resricting free speech, it was open to arbitrary and capricious abuse (in fact, the language was like something the Chimperator and Emperor Cheney would have loved). Here are highlights:
(Sydney, Australia) A court struck down a new law Tuesday that banned people from annoying participants of a Roman Catholic youth festival in Australia that the pope plans to attend, ruling that the law restricted free speech. The ruling handed down on the opening day of the six-day World Youth Day festival paves the way for activists to hand out condoms and coat hangers - symbolizing abortions - to pilgrims in a demonstration planned for Saturday. Three federal court judges ruled that the law was invalid under Australia's constitution because they limited freedom of speech.
The legal challenge was brought by two activists from the NoPope Coalition, a group of gay rights and secular activists. The coalition is planning a rally on Saturday at which activists said they would wear T-shirts condemning Pope Benedict XVI and hand out condoms and coat hangers to pilgrims taking part in a procession through Sydney.
"We now have a lot more confidence to take to the streets to condemn Pope Benedict's policies against condom use, against contraception, against homosexuality," said Rachel Evans, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "We are glad that the court has ruled that we do have the freedom of expression to communicate our political views on Saturday."

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