The pastor who officiated at a “Mr. Hetero” contest in Worcester, Mass., which featured the testimony of an ex-gay and several silly contests, has sued the city. He was billed for the extra cost of having police presence at the event.
The Rev. Thomas J. Crouse, in a suit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield, asks for injunctions and damages against the city, citing unconstitutional policies and actions.
It is not clear whether Crouse knew of the requirement and agreed to it in advance only later to renege or whether he was surprised after the fact.
In the suit, Crouse said that city officials told him that he would be responsible for the cost of city police officers at the event, about $6,000. He said charging him violates his constitutional right to free speech.
Maybe Crouse is unaware that the gay community often pays for security at gay pride events. For example CSW, the Los Angeles Pride event, spent over $136,000 in law enforcement, security, and medical for the 1994 pride parade and festival – and they have far fewer protestors than did Crouse’s event. Or, perhaps, Crouse thinks there should be a separate standard for gay pride and hetero pride events.
It may also be that Crouse is simply trying to get attention. But if it comes out that Crouse was told of the cost in advance and that the City of Worcester has charged gay groups for similar events, Crouse may find that this is attention that he does not want.
Per reporting by supporters of Crouse, the pastor had to pay the costs in advance. His supporters also seem to object to procedures used by the police to ensure the safety and security of attendees of the event. (thanks grantdale)