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Valentines Day Protest Ignites Controversy


Members of a Chicago Catholic church says activists from the Gay Liberation Network went too far with their protest of a Valentine's Day Mass.

Parishioners of Holy Name Cathedral told WLS News that the activists violated a city ordinance by demonstrating within 150 feet of a church service. They also said the protest was disruptive to the ceremony that featured couples renewing their wedding vows.

"They were loud and droning, shouting mantras that were offensive," parishioner Nora Doherty said in the report. "It was just distracting."

The protesters did not use a bullhorn, but parishioners maintain the group was distracting because of their proximity to the front doors of the church.

"There were about 100 people," said Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network. "We were picketing. We had our signs. Some people were chanting. We had no amplified sounds during that."

Doherty said she asked police several times to move the protesters across the street because of the alleged city ordinance violation but was unsuccessful.

"We ended up not using our bullhorn, and that seemed to be a compromise that worked for everyone on the spot," Thayer said.

"You can't make a deal to circumvent disorderly conduct laws," Doherty countered. She also said she supports the right to protest because she is a pro-life demonstrator. Doherty accused police of implementing a double standard because when she picketed Planned Parenthood, police made her group move across the street.

Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the Chicago police, said the department does not give any groups special treatment.

"The department worked with the Archdiocese of Chicago in developing an operational response that supported the law while ensuring public safety," Drew said.

The demonstration took place to "highlight the role the Church's leadership has played in promoting inequality," according to Chicagoist.

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