The Queen of Angels Catholic bookstore in Jacksonville, Florida, came to an agreement with the city Thursday, saying that the shop constitutes an “exempt religious organization” with the right to express beliefs on traditional marriage and sexuality, according to court documents.
The bookstore’s owner, Christie DeTrude, filed a lawsuit with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in February over a city ordinance that prohibited businesses from discriminating on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. The city, however, agreed to an order of consent this week that will allow DeTrude to express her Catholic beliefs on gender and that marriage is between a man and a woman, according to court documents. (RELATED: University Medical Center Claims ‘Religious Oppression Is Just A Christian Thing)
“Free speech is for everyone,” Hal Frampton, ADF senior counsel, said in a press release. “All Americans should be free to say what they believe without fear of government punishment.”
Craig D. Feiser, the attorney for the city, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the “litigation is still pending and the City has no comment at this time.”
CASE VICTORY: In a federal lawsuit settlement, the city of Jacksonville has agreed that Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore can operate according to its Catholic beliefs.
We celebrate this win🎉
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) September 7, 2023
The city of Jacksonville passed an ordinance in 2017 to make the city’s civil rights law include prohibitions against “any communication” that makes someone feel “unwelcome,” according to the Florida Times Union. DeTrude had expressed that she wanted to share her beliefs about gender and sexuality both in her store and on her website but that the law, which could penalize her with unlimited fines, made her fearful to do so, according to the lawsuit.
Catholic Church doctrine considers marriage a sacred act between a man and a woman that “is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring,” according to Notre Dame University.
Frampton noted that while DeTrude would serve anyone who came to her store she cannot be compelled to speak contrary to her faith.
“Jacksonville’s law threatened her with costly investigations, fines, and damages if she used her store’s website to communicate Catholic beliefs about gender identity and human sexuality,” Frampton said. “Thankfully, the city has now agreed that Queen of Angels is a religious organization free to operate according to its faith.”
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