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 This morning, ACLU of Indiana filed suit in U.S. District Court against the City of Loogootee, a community of about 2,600 in the southwestern part of the state, on behalf of the sponsors of PrideFest 2024. After initially approving a permit for PrideFest 2024 to take place on September 7, the Loogootee City Council has since passed two new ordinances changing the application process for using city property, rescinded its prior approval of PrideFest 2024, and failed to vote on the new application the sponsors properly submitted in February 2024.

The first Loogootee Pride Festival was successfully held in June 2023 at the Public Square, in the center of town. where numerous community events have been held over the years. About 200 people attended the 2023 festival, and organizers had no reason to suspect that the town’s leadership would not approve a permit for a festival in 2024.

Since submitting a new application for PrideFest 2024 in February, the organizers of PrideFest, Patoka Valley AIDS Community Action Group, have attended each subsequent Loogootee City Council meeting. The PrideFest application has been on the Council’s meeting agenda but Council members never discussed or voted on it. On June 10, the Council passed the most recently revised ordinance setting up numerous roadblocks to PrideFest. Another event, Summer Fest, is scheduled to be held in the Public Square next week, apparently without the organizers of that event even applying for a permit.

The First Amendment lawsuit filed today calls for the court to enjoin Loogootee’s Special Events Ordinance and allow plaintiffs to hold PrideFest 2024 at the Public Square on September 7, 2024.

Statement from ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk:
 
“The City of Loogootee’s revocation of its November 2023 permission to hold PrideFest 2024 and its actions since that time violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The latest city special events ordinance is unconstitutional in many ways. It, and the actions of the City Council, clearly indicate that Councilmembers are trying to deny our plaintiffs the ability to hold their event because they disagree with a celebration of the LGBTQ community.”

You can view the full complaint here: https://www.aclu-in.org/sites/default/files/loogootee_complaint.pdf

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