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Religious Protestors Can Be Charged with Disturbing Gay Pride Mass

Many states prohibit disrupting religious services.

Key point: Many states have laws making the disruption of religious services a criminal offense.

• A New York court upheld the convictions of religious protestors who disrupted a church service. As a Catholic church was preparing to conduct a mass in honor of gay pride, a group of protestors began disrupting the service. One protestor grabbed a microphone and shouted at a priest, "You shouldn't be here. You are not fit to be a priest. You should be ashamed of yourself. You're not worthy to sell shoes." Other protestors engaged in similar behavior. The protestors were charged with violating a state law that provides: "A person is guilty of aggravated disorderly conduct, who makes unreasonable noise or disturbance while at a lawfully assembled religious service or within one hundred feet thereof, with intent to cause annoyance or alarm or recklessly creating a risk thereof." The ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 1995

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