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Court says
Jerusalem gay pride must go on

Court says
Jerusalem gay pride must go on

A Jerusalem district court ruled Sunday that local authorities have no right to ban the annual gay pride march, due to take place in the city this week, a legal source told Agence France-Presse. The court said that the municipal council "did not have the right to discriminate against a section of the population because of sexual orientation," the source said. The court also ordered the municipality to pay legal costs of more than $6,000, the news agency reported. On Friday, Israeli interior minister Ofir Pines ordered the municipal council to allow the fourth annual gay pride march to take place in Jerusalem on Thursday. The municipality had expressed opposition to the parade in a letter to organizers, warning it would be "a provocation and upset the sentiments of the wider public who live in or are visiting the city." Since June 2004, the municipality has been headed by Mayor Uri Lupolianski, an Orthodox Jew. Organizers of the "Love Without Borders" parade dismissed the letter and pledged to appeal the municipality's ban to the supreme court. Last month organizers of WorldPride, an international gay pride event also scheduled for Jerusalem, had to postpone it to 2006 from its original date of this August because it would have taken place at the same time as Israel's evacuation of all troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip. With the majority of Israeli police being recruited for the Gaza pullout, the organizers realized there would not be enough forces to ensure the safety of festivalgoers at the event, which has faced fierce opposition from senior Muslim, Christian, and Jewish clerics as well as at the grassroots level.

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