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Court partially upholds Gay Games ruling
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2011-10-12

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In a case from the 2006 Chicago Gay Games, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against a group of anti-gay protesters over two complaints they filed, but the court sent a third back to the courts for review.

James Deferio, Ryan Murphy and Michael Marcavage—of religious organization Repent America—were arrested July 2006 for refusing to relocate their protests at three Gay Games events.

The group sued the City of Chicago, a group of police officers and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), which owns Navy Pier.

The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling against Repent America Oct. 4, but reversed part of ruling by tossing it back to the district court over a permit issue.

According to the court judgment issued Oct. 4, Marcavage and others protested outside of the opening of the Gay Games at Soldier Field July 15, 2006. Police asked the group to move off the sidewalk because they were allegedly blocking foot traffic.

The group returned the next day to protest at Navy Pier, but were told to leave again because they were without protest permits that the MPEA requires. Marcavage, Murphy and Deferio were arrested for failing the leave Gateway Park, which sits outside of Navy Pier and is owned by MPEA.

Marcavage was also arrested a day later for disorderly conduct outside of the closing ceremony at Wrigley field.

In issuing its Oct. 4 decision, the court ruled that the Repent America had not proved their rights were violated when police asked them to move. However, the court questioned MPEA's rights to limit protest within Gateway Park and ruled that MPEA return to district court to argue its case.

Marcavage, founder of Repent America, boasts a laundry list of arrests and consequent lawsuits. In 2004, he and 10 others were arrested at Philadelphia's OutFest.


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