Court Upheld Ban on Hare Krishnas from Soliciting Donations at Traffic Lights

A federal court in Louisiana upheld the constitutionality of a municipal ordinance that barred Hare

A federal court in Louisiana upheld the constitutionality of a municipal ordinance that barred Hare Krishna adherents from soliciting donations from occupants of motor vehicles temporarily stopped at traffic lights.

The adherents solicited donations during the Christmas season, while dressed in Santa Claus costumes, from drivers stopped at the busiest intersections in Baton Rouge. Though the solicitation of donations was admittedly a religious practice of the Hare Krishna adherents, it could be limited in the interests of public safety. "Mixing pedestrians and temporarily stopped motor vehicles in the same space at the same time is dangerous …. [Further], the driver who fumbles to unfasten his seat belt so that he can get into his pocket for a handful of coins to pass out the window and who does not move off promptly when the light turns green, holds up those vehicles behind him … invariably causing delays and disruptions to traffic." International Society for Krishna Consciousness v. Baton Rouge, 668 F. Supp. 527 (M.D. La. 1987)

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