Christian News Network reports,
A national legal organization has announced that it has obtained a temporary restraining order against New Orleans’ Aggressive Solicitation ordinance, which bans evangelistic activity and all free speech after sunset on Bourbon Street.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana states that it obtained the restraining order during a brief telephone hearing this afternoon. The organization had filed suit earlier in the day, requesting that the court grant a temporary freeze on the ordinance until the case moves forward in federal court.
The ACLU represented Kelsey McCauley-Bohn in the lawsuit, who was one of the six Christians that had been arrested last Friday night while ministering on Bourbon Street in the city’s French Quarter. While not handcuffed and charged, McCauley-Bohn, along with the others, followed officers to the 8th Precinct station as per police directives, where the group was informed, “You are under arrest.” Three of the Christians, all men, were cited and face a trial date of October 31st. . . .
While the Aggressive Solicitation ordinance used against McCauley-Bohn and the five others was crafted primarily to restrict panhandling and other forms of begging, it also includes a sentence that prohibits any type of free speech on Bourbon Street after sunset. . . .
District Judge Eldon Fallon, who was appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1995, ruled this afternoon that the ordinance was likely causing “irreparable injury” to the constitutional rights of citizens.
“The Court finds that continued enforcement of New Orleans [Aggressive Solicitation] ordinance will result in an infringement of Plaintiff’s rights of free speech, and that the Plaintiff has demonstrated a likelihood of success that this infringement is impermissible under the United States Constitution,” Fallon wrote. “It is ordered adjudged and decreed that Plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining order is hereby granted, and Defendants the City of New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD Superintendent Renal Serpas, and their respective agents or employees, are hereby enjoined from enforcing or attempting to enforce [the] New Orleans Parish Ordinance.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit yesterday on behalf of another evangelist, Pastor Paul Gros, who was threatened with arrest in May of this year while preaching on Bourbon Street with his wife, another pastor and a friend. ADF was seeking a preliminary injunction against the ordinance.