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Antigay Preacher Gets Six Figures After City Obstructs Pride Protest

James Deferio
James Deferio

James Deferio sued Syracuse, N.Y., after it imposed a "buffer zone" between him and an LGBT festival.

An antigay protester is about to get a six-figure payment from the city of Syracuse, N.Y.

James Deferio, an evangelical preacher and notorious picketer of LGBT demonstrations, was awarded $127,248 by a federal judge after being forced to keep his distance from CNY Pride, according to The Post-Standard.

In a lawsuit, Deferio claimed his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when Syracuse police imposed a 40-foot "buffer zone" between protests and the city's Pride festivities in 2014 and 2015.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn found this buffer zone to be illegal in a 2016 ruling, which argued that it restricted Deferio's freedom of speech. The judge ordered the zone to be lifted for Pride that year.

Karn also ordered Syracuse to cover the protester's legal fees and $1 in nominal damages. The payment was approved by city lawyers earlier this month.

This is not the first free-speech lawsuit from Deferio. The preacher sued Ithaca, N.Y., after police enforced a noise ordinance against him. In 2009, he received a $10,000 settlement from the city.

The Post-Standard reports that Deferio is a known anti-LGBT demonstrator in the Syracuse area. His large sign denouncing same-sex attraction and promoting conversion therapy has been spotted at venues like the Great New York State Fair and Syracuse University.

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