GLNer Hit With Fine For Big November 15th March Through Chicago's Loop
GLN permalink posted March 2, 2009
Late last week a Chicago administrative law officer hit the Gay Liberation Network's Andy Thayer with a $500 fine, plus $40 court costs, for November's 5000-strong anti-Proposition 8 march through Chicago's Loop.
"Out of the 5000 marchers, I was the only one charged with a violation of the ordinance. Even though the City produced no credible evidence in the trial that I incited the crowd to march, I was found guilty," he said.
The spontaneous march circled for nearly 5 miles through busy Chicago Loop traffic with no violence and gracious applause from a (straight) wedding reception way up on North Michigan Avenue. The aim was to show outrage at Prop 8's taking away of rights from a whole group of people.
Since when should ANY minority group's rights be decided by a popular vote? If that's the way rights were decided, we'd never have gotten the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KA desegregation decision, or the first-in-the-nation 1947 California decision allowing interracial marriage both wildly unpopular decisions in their times.
In addition to the fine for the November 15th march, City of Chicago attorneys attempted to impose a far more onorous, patently unconstitutional penalty on Thayer and anyone associated with him. Quoting from the penalties section of the Parade Permits ordinance:
"Where the conduct of any parade or athletic event causes or results in a threat to public safety, the permit holder, including any affiliated organization identified on the permit application, and the parade or other event organizer, shall be barred from receiving another permit under this section for a period of one year."
In other words, part of the penalty that the City was aiming to inflict for the parade permit violation on November 15th was to nix all permits of any organization associated with him for the next year. After Thayer's lawyer, Joshua Kutnick, launched a vehement protest against such a direct violation of the Constitution's right to freedom of association, fortunately the administrative law officer did not follow the City's recommendation.
As "luck" would have it, Thayer and other anti-war organizers have been engaged in a pitched legal battle with the City of Chicago over the right to march on the 6th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After a month and a half of on-again, off-again legal hearings and procedures, they finally won a permit for the march. The attempt to impose the 1-year permits ban was a last-ditch attempt to derail the permit for the March 14th anti-war action.
For more on the ridiculous battles that peace and immigrants organizers have had to wage simply to have the right to march, check out the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
In the meantime, we have a fine to pay.
To help pay Andy's fine, please send a check payable to "GLN" to the following address:
Please write "protesters' defense fund" in the memo section.
In the event that funds in excess of the $540 penalty are raised, the surplus funds will go to the thousands in legal defense funds needed to defeat felony charges that Andy is facing as a result of an action against George W. Bush's January 7, 2008 visit to Chicago. For background on that, go to: 1, 2, 3