A federal magistrate judge recommends that two men be allowed to preach their Christian beliefs at a popular winter festival in Duluth.
Steve Jankowski of Duluth and Peter Scott of Hibbing filed suit in November saying the city intends to violate their First Amendment rights. They argue the Duluth police should not block them from preaching at this year's "Bentleyville Tour of Lights," as happened last year. The free event is run by a private nonprofit, but it's held at the city's Bayfront Festival Park.
On Monday, a federal magistrate judge said the men should be allowed to preach at the park until the case is heard.
"Public parks and public streets have been held in public trust since time immemorial and have been used for public purposes of expression and debate, and that's essentially the principle that we're establishing here," said Jonathan Scruggs, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.
The city of Duluth has until Friday to respond. Then a federal district judge will affirm or reject the recommendation.