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FL Catholic bookstore faces fines, punishment for staying true to its faith

ADF attorneys available for media interviews following hearing Monday

Friday, May 12, 2023

WHO:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT:  Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore v. City of Jacksonville

WHEN:  Immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. EDT, Monday, May 15

WHERE:  U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, Courtroom 10D, 300 N. Hogan St., Jacksonville. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Hattie Troutman at (771) 200-7630.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Catholic bookstore in Jacksonville will be available for media interviews Monday following oral arguments at a federal court in Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore v. City of Jacksonville. Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore is challenging a city law that requires it to speak against its beliefs and to silence its religious views to remain in business.

“Free speech is for everyone. All Americans should be free to say what they believe without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Senior Counsel Hal Frampton, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of Queen of Angels. “Christie, the bookstore’s owner, gladly serves everyone, but she can’t speak messages that go against her religious beliefs. Yet Jacksonville's law threatens her with costly investigations, fines, and damages if she uses her store’s website to communicate Catholic beliefs about gender identity and human sexuality. Punishing someone because of their views not only runs afoul of the First Amendment, but it also has devastating consequences for free speech and small business owners like Christie.”

Queen of Angels serves the Jacksonville community by selling books, crucifixes, and other Catholic resources to the public. In everything it does, Queen of Angels and its owner Christie DeTrude strive to honor God and promote their Catholic beliefs, including through the store’s website and YouTube channel.

The bookstore serves all customers and gladly sells its products to anybody, but DeTrude and her bookstore staff cannot speak messages that violate their faith. Thus, they affirm that men and women are different and cannot use pronouns or titles that don’t align with a customer’s sex. DeTrude also wants to explain this policy and her Catholic beliefs about gender and sexuality in her store and on the store’s website. Doing so, however, is illegal under Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance, which forbids communications that could lead someone to feel “unwelcome” based on various protected traits. The law threatens Queen of Angels with unlimited fines and damages if it doesn’t comply.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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