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Tensions Rise in St. Louis as Gays Protest Catholic Involvement in Anti-Gay Maine Marriage Vote


Some dedicated activists in St. Louis have been holding weekend protests against the Catholic Church since Maine's marriage equality law was voted down in November. This past Sunday was the group's third protest. KMOX reports:

Stlouis "About 65 members of a groups Show Me No Hate and the Catholic Action Network lined the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral Sunday afternoon. It's the latest in a series of Sunday demonstrations following news that Archbishop Robert Carlson donated $10,000 to help veto a gay marriage law in the state of Maine. On Sunday four protestors attempted to stand alongside their cars parked at a 45 degree angle in front of the church holding signs that read, 'Honk for Equality' or 'Separation of Church and Hate.' That's when they claim police muffled their protest by ordering them back on the sidewalk. There were no arrests and no allegations of police getting physical. But organizer Ed Reggi captured a tense exchange with an officer on video tape (videos AFTER THE JUMP), in which he was warned to 'prepare for arrest,' when he refused at first to step back on the sidewalk. The officer on the video tells Reggi that he is not allowed on the street and that his holding of signs there was disturbing traffic and had prompted several 911 calls."

The Archdiocese released a statement that it had nothing to do with the fact that the police were there.

The police also released a statement: "Several of the protestors told police that they wanted to get arrested for the media attention. They have been doing these protests every week for several weeks now with no arrests, so this is their way of getting media attention. If someone is alleging officer misconduct, we encourage them to contact the Internal Affairs Division."

Protestors have planned another demonstration for this coming Sunday and have called on their members to "Show up in full force."

Watch videos, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Ed Reggi is nothing but a blowhard that does this stuff for media attention.

    Posted by: Stephen | Dec 15, 2009 12:01:12 PM

  2. Fuck You, KAPO!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 15, 2009 12:07:03 PM

  3. More people should be doing this. People sit in church and listen to sermons that demonize gays, they toss cash in the collection plate, and then they head home thinking they don't know any gay people. As a result, people see "the gays" as just some faceless community running around in ass-less chaps and prowling parks. Or as "perverts," as Don Wildmon and his ilk tell their followers. I attended a protest at Saddleback Church after Prop 8 passed. I think Rick Warren's congregation was stunned to see hundreds of diverse faces speaking out against persecution. It puts a face on the issue and forces congregations to come face-to-face with the men, woman, and children they are hurting.

    Posted by: Mark | Dec 15, 2009 12:14:51 PM

  4. BRAVO for those protesting the use of money derived from tax-free institutions to deny anyone CIVIL rights based on CHURCH doctrine and what LBJ once called "the teaching and preaching of hate"!

    Well past the time all gay groups got off their bellies and started fighting bigotry in the rats' nests from which it is spawned!sailed and they were the ones to launch it!

    Posted by: Michael @ | Dec 15, 2009 12:19:40 PM

  5. This is EXACTLY what we should be doing all over the country. We should be protesting in front of Catholic churches, Mormon Temples, and other places of worship (evangelical and yes, African-American)where official church policy is to deny us equal rights. We have to stand up to these religious extremists and let them and the public know we won't take this anymore. The media attention is the POINT, Stephen, you idiot. The only reason you are reading about it HERE is media attention. Duh.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Dec 15, 2009 12:20:30 PM

  6. Whether or not this goes well depends entirely on how "Old School St. Louis" the crowd is. If its a bunch of people who did not go to high school in the city or even, god forbid, the suburbs, this will NOT go well. Many people from/in the city grow up feeling like the church is part of their family, and they don't like outsiders criticizing family.

    What organizers really need to do if they are serious is get a bunch of protesters who are from South St. Louis and grew up and/or live there now, Irish people who already know half the police force through friends and family (I know this sounds antiquated, but this is from my experience with south St. Louis). Catholics in St. Louis are PISSED at the archdiocese right now for closing old neighborhood churches, and once you can crack the outsider bunker mentality, people are ready to throw some rhetorical stones at the church.

    Posted by: Former STL | Dec 15, 2009 12:33:12 PM

  7. How does sexual perversion begin? The answer may lie with a child's curiosity about his/her sexuality, which usually begins with self-pleasure or masturbation. Is masturbation a sin unto death? What did Jesus teach on the subject? The anwer --

    Posted by: C. David Parsons | Dec 15, 2009 1:27:05 PM

  8. 1) First comment: Stephen, you clearly lack knowledge on that subject. That is called ignorance. You are so completely in the dark that it's clearly not worth a breath arguing with you.
    2) The photo above is by Chris Weiss. Give due credits where they are due.
    3) 'Bout time we start raising awareness. No longer will any of this be tolerated. Equality for all is a necessity, not a luxury.

    Posted by: John | Dec 15, 2009 2:10:49 PM

  9. Anyone who has attended these rallies knows that the attendees do not want to get arrested. Ed has organized these rallies as peaceful, legal actions. The police officer in the videos was belligerent and clearly wanted to harass the protesters. I would love to hear the tapes of the supposed 911 calls that the officer claims he was responding to.

    Posted by: Steve Houldsworth | Dec 15, 2009 2:17:49 PM

  10. These protests are organized with the Catholic Action Network (CAN). There are plenty of St. Louis city Catholics angry and are demonstrating.

    I am not understanding what warranted the personal attack on Ed Reggi. If anyone organizes demonstrations that get the attention of the media, then I would say bravo! I agree more of this needs to happen across the United States from within the Catholic Churches.

    Posted by: STLCAN | Dec 15, 2009 2:48:20 PM

  11. C David Parsons fucking cunt troll WTF are you doing spreading your hate here?


    Posted by: ant | Dec 15, 2009 2:55:03 PM

  12. I say God Bless Ed Reggi and all those out with their signs, voices, and presence.

    A big thumbs down for that STLPD officer.

    Posted by: Perry | Dec 15, 2009 3:29:23 PM

  13. I have watched this video a number of times. I do not believe the officer is doing anything illegal or violent. It also looks as though everyone complied with his request to get on the sidewalk except for Mr. Reggi. Since you cite the article, I will also point out that it was impossible for Mr. Reggi to have seen "dozens" more police officers this past Sunday as there are typically no more than 8 officers on duty in that area on any given day. I, too, made a couple of fact-checking phone calls. I am one of Ed Reggi's 4,500+ friends on Facebook. I have known him for a number of years. I refuse to post about this on his FB page because I fear retaliation from others who post there. I think that is pretty sad, don't you? I think tolerance should start with you, Ed. I think there are ways to fight the cause without stirring all these ancillary pots. As a leader you must accept the fact that everyone isn't always going to agree with you. I think the police get enough bad press. I hope we can get back to the real issue here.

    Posted by: Lady_Jane | Dec 15, 2009 4:18:45 PM

  14. P.S.
    The mysterious (or non-existent) city ordinance that Mr. Reggi wanted to see was easily found online courtesy of the St. Louis Library. It reads as follows:

    17.16.270 Demonstration on or near street.

    No person shall sell or offer for sale any goods or merchandise, display any sign or pictures, participate in or conduct an exhibition or demonstration, talk, sing or play music on any street or abutting premises, or alley in consequences of which there is such a gathering of persons or stopping of vehicles as to impede either pedestrians or vehicular traffic. (Ord. 57831 § 1 (part), 1979: 1960 C. § 827.280.)

    Posted by: Lady_Jane | Dec 15, 2009 5:23:42 PM

  15. The reall issue here is KAPOS like you "Lady_Jane"

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 15, 2009 5:25:42 PM

  16. I think Lady_Jane works for the St. Louis Police department. It is clear in his/her comments that they are smearing the name of Ed Reggi, an outstanding role model, civil leader and activist in the LGBT Community.

    We should address the real issue at hand-- stopping Catholic Bishops from bullying voters and using tax-exempt money to influence the destruction of my civil rights.

    Maybe Lady_Jane is the Archbishop himself. Now there is a thought.......

    Posted by: STLCAN | Dec 15, 2009 8:15:00 PM

  17. Maybe Lady_Jane should do a tad more research his/her beloved ordinance is in the midst of a federal court challenge because it is unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional for precisely the reasons shown in this recording: Anyone protesting anywhere could be arrested on the whim of a cop who does not like the message because the ordinance is so broad.

    Posted by: Troy | Dec 15, 2009 8:58:03 PM

  18. Alas, this is why the St. Louis police get sued every few weeks for violating the First Amendment.

    Posted by: A.Edwards | Dec 15, 2009 9:03:34 PM

  19. What's sad is the St. Louis police don't have an issue with gays (maybe this one cop does
    or not). This is making it seem like they do.

    Posted by: Billy | Dec 15, 2009 10:18:40 PM

  20. THIS IS NOT ABOUT ANTI-GAY POLICE, BOYS! This is a story about St. Louis police having a history of being anti-demonstrations! And St. Louis police working against citizens using their Constitutional Rights to protest a church, hotel, bar, bowling alley or place of business.

    Stop making up the news!

    Nothing in this story says the police came there saying anti-gay slurs. Go away trolls, you were not there, our Catholic group has been involved since the first protest.

    Posted by: STLCAN | Dec 15, 2009 10:30:44 PM

  21. I am glad to hear that the ordinance that Lady_Jane posted is being challenged. It is worded in such a way that a protest on any property that abuts a street is illegal, which is clearly a violation of the bill of rights. But if we get away from that argument, I would say that the protest (and specifically Ed Reggi) was clearly not in violation; it says "in consequences of which there is such a gathering of persons or stopping of vehicles as to impede either pedestrians or vehicular traffic." The only impeding or stopping of pedestrians or traffic was done by the officer in question.

    Posted by: Kylie | Dec 16, 2009 7:46:38 PM

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