El Paso, Texas — May 9, 2022. Today, Ryan Denton, a client of the Center for Religious Expression (CRE), received a final judgment in a federal lawsuit against the City of El Paso, striking down a policy that prohibits his proselytizing on a public street during a city-run Farmer’s Market.
On August 24, 2019, Denton went to the Union Plaza area of El Paso to share a message of hope about God’s love with people attending the El Paso Downtown Artist and Farmer’s Market, a free and open event that occurs every weekend. But after he arrived, the market director and an El Paso police officer told him that he could not continue his religious expression without risking arrest.
To secure Denton’s First Amendment right to proselytize, CRE sent a letter to the city of El Paso, and later filed suit in district court, but the district court initially ruled against Denton’s motion for temporary relief. Appealing to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, CRE pointed out El Paso’s egregious violation of the First Amendment and the appellate court agreed, granting his request for temporary relief. After the Fifth Circuit ruled on the preliminary injunction, the district court was obliged to enter a final judgement in Denton’s favor restoring his rights and setting a precedent for others to exercise their right to religious freedom.
“This is not only a major victory for Ryan, but for anyone who wants to share the gospel,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “No city, including El Paso, can bar proselytizing.”
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.