Oklahoma City, gay rights group reach settlement

BY Advocate.com Editors

October 09 2002 11:00 PM ET

Oklahoma City leaders and a gay rights group have approved a settlement over the display of banners on utility and city poles. The Oklahoma City council on Tuesday voted 8-1 to abide by a federal judge's ruling last month that declared part of the city's banner ordinance unconstitutional. Under the agreement, the city will pay "nominal damages" of $3, plus attorneys' fees. The city also must give the Cimarron Alliance permission to display banners for its pride parade and delay consideration of changing or repealing the ordinance until January.

For Cimarron Alliance, the case was "never about damages," said Mark Henricksen, a volunteer American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing the group. "It was about vindicating their free speech rights." Henricksen said a court will determine the amount of attorneys' fees paid. The council met in a lengthy closed meeting to discuss the settlement and then, without debate, voted to accept it.

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