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Chicago: Gays not
protected by 14th Amendment

Chicago: Gays not
protected by 14th Amendment

A man who filed a lawsuit after being allegedly beaten by Chicago police because he is gay is contesting the city's motion to dismiss his case--since the city is arguing that gays are not covered under the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

The Chicago Free Press reports that Alexander Ruppert sued Chicago police officers after he was arrested in March 2006, when he was escorted out of a bar. The officers were driving him to the Uptown station when he tried to use his cell phone in the backseat of the police car. Ruppert says the officers stopped the car, dragged him out, and beat him while using antigay epithets. After he began to bleed profusely, he told them he was HIV-positive. He was taken to a local hospital, where he received 16 stitches around his eye.

The motion, filed by attorneys for the city, states that gays as a group are not included under the 14th Amendment, the Constitution's equal protection clause.

The amendment states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Ruppert's attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, told the Free Press that the city's position is an insult to Chicagoans. He asked for an extension to argue against the city's motion. Both sides will return to court September 11.

"When we filed the equal protection count, we knew the federal government was behind the curve in recognizing that the equal protection clause should cover sexual orientation," he said. "We expected more from the city of Chicago." (The Advocate)

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Mike Grippi