Syracuse, New York — June 8, 2016. The federal court for the Northern District of New York granted James Deferio a preliminary injunction today, prohibiting the city of Syracuse from banning his religious viewpoint on a public sidewalk.
For the past couple years, Deferio has attempted to share God’s message of forgiveness and redemption with those attending the Central New York Pride Festival. He did not enter the festival area, but remained on a public sidewalk outside, hoping to reach people as they entered. However, both years, the police ordered him to leave, on threat of arrest, simply because the festival organizer would not tolerate his Christian beliefs.
Concerned that he would be prohibited from sharing God’s love with festival attendees during future Pride Festivals, Deferio contacted CRE, which filed a lawsuit on his behalf, seeking a preliminary injunction, among other relief. The district court granted the injunction, guaranteeing that Deferio will be free to return to the public sidewalks and carry God’s message to those in need.
“The court rightly held that Syracuse’s attempt to suppress speech cannot stand,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “The First Amendment promises the freedom to share views others might find disagreeable; otherwise, there would be no need for the freedom.”