[T]he city showed that the "spectacle" created by the banners on Sept. 2, 2003, created a traffic hazard with traffic slowing, "but there is nothing that suggests it was the message" that caused the dangerous slowdown or caused police to ask the demonstrators to leave.What? Did you prefer the story that what really slowed down the Madison drivers was the message: "Homosexuality is sin." Well, the judge found the facts. He thinks they would have slowed down just as much for root beer. What are you going to do about that, Seventh Circuit?
"There's no evidence to suggest it was the message. None whatsoever," Shabaz said. "People were asked to leave (the overpasses) only because of the narrow circumstances . . . . You can't do it at rush hour. It isn't the message we (motorists) don't like, it's the fact that we can't get home on time."...
Shabaz said in his ruling Monday, "The mere fact that plaintiffs were engaged in a spectacle . . . it drew attention. You could probably have sold Old Dutch root beer and got the same attention."
December 13, 2005
Remember the case about the the anti-gay pastor who was told to remove his banners from the Beltline overpass here in Madison? I wrote about the Seventh Circuit's decision here. The case was sent back to U.S. District Judge John Shabaz, who held a one-day trial, and once again decided against Ovadal. According to the judge: