RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Michael Golojuch Jr. holds a sign protesting the exclusion of homosexual families at the July 5 Family Day Parade. Although the parade is over, the lawsuit is ongoing and may result in new rules for next year's Family Day events.
to entire Family Day
A lawsuit accusing the city administration of excluding gay and lesbian groups from a parade last weekend will be expanded to challenge the Christian context of the July 5 Family Day event in Kapiolani Park.
Attorneys for the city and the American Civil Liberties Union met with U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor behind closed doors Tuesday regarding the Family Day Parade. Attorneys said the settlement conference, which will resume next month, could result in new guidelines on city event sponsorships.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on the behalf of three gay groups after their parade applications were rejected.
The defendants claimed the parade was a private event organized by the Hawaii Christian Coalition. The plaintiffs argued that because the city provided extraordinary support to the coalition, the parade should have been open to all.
Gillmor denied the ACLU's request for an order to allow members of the Center; the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Family Network; and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to march in the parade.
ACLU legal director Brent White said the organization intends to amend its complaint to argue that Family Day in general was a city-sponsored event with religious themes.
The revised suit claims Family Day featured nine separate musical performances by Christian groups, while children's entertainment at the Keiki Stage in Kapiolani Park had a stated purpose to "save souls."
Both sides indicated new city guidelines for future parades could result from the lawsuit.
"I think we may take more effort to separate who is the sponsor and who is not the sponsor," said Greg Swartz, deputy corporation counsel for the city.
"We'll come up with a set of rules so the city knows what they can and can't do in the future," said White.
The city agreed Tuesday with the ACLU's request to preserve evidence related to the case as litigation continues. A meeting is scheduled for Aug. 6 in Gillmor's chambers.
Click for online
calendars and events.