Using a city law passed just last year, police in New Orleans arrested nine preachers for an anti-gay demonstration during Southern Decadence festivities in the French Quarter over the weekend.
Eight of the men were arrested on suspicion of aggressive solicitation under an ordinance that prohibits ‘any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.’
A ninth man was arrested on suspicion of battery, resisting an officer and interfering with a law enforcement investigation. Justin Craft, 31, allegedly punched an officer who was attempting to confiscate his bullhorn, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Police said they did not know which organization the men represented.
Southern Decadence is gay festival which draws over 100,000 LGBT people to the state. This year’s event took place as Isaac, now a tropical storm, caused heavy flooding in areas around the state and damage around the Gulf Coast – nearly seven years to the day after the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
Christian extremists pointed to the festival as evidence it was God punishing the United States for pushing the ‘homosexual agenda.’