Judge sets date for reinstallation of gay pride exhibit

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A judge has set a date for when the city must reinstall a gay pride exhibit at Anchorage's main library.

A federal judge ruled almost a week ago that the exhibit must be reinstalled at Loussac Library, but the city and the Alaska Civil Liberties Union had not come to terms on how or when.

So, U.S. District Judge James K. Singleton on Monday issued a preliminary injunction saying that the 'Celebrating Diversity Under the Midnight Sun' exhibit must be reinstalled at the library no later than Thursday.

Singleton also prohibited the city from ''engaging in impermissible viewpoint discrimination in the displays at municipal libraries.''

In a written statement, Mayor George Wuerch said, ''The Municipality will clearly comply with the orders of the court.''

The mayor ordered that the exhibit be removed from the library after deciding it was promotional. Under the city's library exhibit policy, displays that are promotional, personal or commercial can be denied. The exhibit was taken down on June 5.

The Alaska Civil Liberties Union sued the city because it said the abrupt removal of the exhibit violated free-speech rights of the sponsors as well as potential viewers.

Singleton's order directs the city to reinstate the display much like it was and keep it up for at last 30 days, as originally agreed to.

The judge found that ''the Municipality's objection to the promotional nature of Plaintiffs' exhibit was clearly an afterthought.''

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