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Protester Who Disrupted Supreme Court Marriage Equality Hearing Sentenced

Protester Who Disrupted Supreme Court Marriage Equality Hearing Sentenced

Rives Miller Grogan
Rives Miller Grogan

The man warned that marriage equality supporters will spend eternity in hell, but he will be spending 21 days in jail.

A man who disrupted the marriage equality hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court in April with an antigay outburst has been sentenced to 21 days in jail.

Rives Miller Grogan, 50, of Mansfield, Texas, was sentenced Thursday in a federal court in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press reports. He had pleaded guilty in September to a charge of illegally demonstrating inside the Supreme Court.

During a break in the oral arguments at the high court April 28, Grogan shouted that supporters of marriage equality "could burn in hell for eternity" and that "homosexuality is an abomination to God." He was then escorted out and arrested.

LGBT activist Lane Hudson, who was in line waiting to enter the Supreme Court that day, witnessed the removal of the protester later identified as Grogan. "There was a guy yelling and security guys dragging him out and he was resisting and flailing and refusing to go," Hudson told The Advocate at the time. "They had to drag him out and subdue him right outside the doors and cuff him. He didn't stop yelling the whole time."

This was the second time Grogan had been arrested for disrupting Supreme Court proceedings, the AP notes. The first time was in 2006, when the court was hearing a case on late-term abortions. Grogan, an abortion opponent, pleaded guilty in that case as well and was sentenced to 15 days in jail, plus probation and community service, and received a $500 fine.

During his sentencing Thursday, Grogan, wearing a T-shirt with an anti-abortion message, told Judge Randolph D. Moss that his Christian beliefs prompted him to give a "warning" to the Supreme Court at the marriage equality hearing, according to the AP. But Moss said that allowing protests inside the court would make it difficult for the justices and lawyers to do their work. Grogan responded, "I slowed justice down, what, 10, 15 seconds?"

The protester, who did admit that he deserved to be removed from the Supreme Court, also agreed to avoid the high court's building for a year, although he will be allowed on the public sidewalks nearby.

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