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Homophobic Billboard Suit Thrown Out


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Homophobic Billboard Suit Thrown Out

by Beth Shapiro, 365Gay.com New York Bureau

Posted: November 17, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(New York City) A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a Staten Island clergyman who claimed his civil rights were violated when two billboards he ordered denouncing homosexuality were ordered covered up.

It was the second time that the Rev. Kristopher Okwedy has had his case dismissed. After Judge Nina Gershon originally threw out the case in 2003, Okwedy went to a state Appeals Court which ordered the case revisited.

This week Gershon again dismissed the case.

Okwedy was attempting to sue former Borough President Guy V. Molinari and PNE Media of violating his First Amendment rights when Molinair ordered the removal of two billboards.

Okwedy had paid PNE $2,500 for two signs that quoted biblical passages condemning homosexuality.

Molinari said at the time that the billboards violated the city's human rights ordinance protecting gays from discrimination and that he feared the billboards would inspire anti-gay violence. PNE complied.

Judge Gershon ruled that Okwedy had failed to prove that the human rights law was unconstitutional as applied to him because it collided with his religious and free speech rights.

©365Gay.com 2005


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