my life and times

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Third Circuit Refuses to Come to the Aid of Philadelphia Christians(video link included)

Contact: Brian Fahling, Esq.
American Family Association
P.O. Drawer 2440
Tupelo, MS 38803

For Immediate Release: 12/13/2004

Philadelphia, PA - The Third Circuit Court of Appeals today denied an emergency appeal by eleven Christians who allege that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office retaliated against them for exercising their constitutional rights during a homosexual event that celebrated the “National Coming Out Day.” The Philadelphia 11, the group arrested at the coming out event dubbed “Outfest,” were charged with three (3) felonies and five (5) misdemeanors. Among the felony charges were Criminal Conspiracy, Ethnic Intimidation and Riot.

The Philadelphia 11 were placed in handcuffs when Chief James Tiano, liaison between the police department and the homosexual community, ordered the group to relocate to the outskirts of the Outfest event. A few moments prior to their arrest, the group was told by another Philadelphia police officer that because they were on a public sidewalk they were permitted to move freely through the event. The Philadelphia 11 faces a maximum penalty of forty-seven (47) years each in jail.

Early last week the Center for Law & Policy (CLP) filed papers in the federal court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking a temporary restraining order that would prevent the City of Philadelphia from prosecuting the case against the Philadelphia 11. Judge Petrese Tucker heard the case and denied the Philadelphia 11’s request. The CLP immediately appealed Judge Tucker’s decision to the Third Circuit and that Court denied the Philadelphia 11’s request for emergency relief.

“This turn of events is beyond belief,” stated Brian Fahling, Senior Trial Attorney for the CLP. At the hearing before Judge Tucker, the CLP presented undisputed video evidence that captured the “Outfest” events on tape. This video shows that at all times the Philadelphia 11 cooperated with the police and was continually harassed by a homosexual security force called the Pink Angels. Further, despite the disruptive tactics of the Pink Angels, not one Angel was cited or arrested, or even warned. This evidence was not contested by the City of Philadelphia.

“Despite the undisputed evidence placed before the Court, our action for emergency relief was denied not once, but twice,” Fahling added. “Many had thought an outcome like this,” argued Fahling, “ended at Selma.” “It seems that the Philadelphia 11 have become second class citizens in the City of Brotherly Love.” The Philadelphia 11’s preliminary hearing will take place tomorrow, December 14th, 9:00 AM, at the Criminal Justice Center for the Philadelphia Municipal Court, 1301 Filbert Street, Room 606, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Center for Law & Policy is a division of the American Family Association, Inc. The CLP restricts its practice to constitutional litigation in state and federal courts.

See Video (Windows Media format)