A lawsuit filed last year seeking to remove the LGBT Pride flag from the offices of four members of Congress was dismissed this week by a United States District Court judge.
The suit filed in March 2017 by Chris Sevier alleged that the flag hanging in the halls of Congress violated his constitutional right to lobby congress, claiming that homosexuality is a religion and that all religions needed to be represented equally.
Long Beach Congressman Alan Lowenthal, the first to display the flag outside his Capitol Hill office, was one of the four named in the suit along with Representative Susan Davis (San Diego), Donald Beyer (Virginia) and Earl Blumenauer (Oregon).
“The Pride Flag is a symbol of love, of peace, and diversity. It tells the story of the LGBT community’s past, present, and future. I fly it outside my office in support of every LGBTQ individual—those in my district, those in our nation, and those around the world,” Lowenthal said in a statement released by his office.
In the 21-page ruling from Judge Randolph D. Moss issued Monday, Sevier’s complaints that Lowenthal and other members of Congress hanging the flag inside or outside their offices was akin to supporting a religion. His claims that hanging the flag was in violation of the Establishment Clause, and that as a DC lobbyist, the mere presence of the flag made him feel unwelcome to access the building, were dismissed.
Sevier’s suit asked for $1 in damages, the removal of the flag and a variety of reversals of LGBT legislation including the 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States which legalized gay marriage.
“Because “homosexuality” or support for gay rights is not a “religion” in any meaningful sense under the Establishment Clause, Sevier’s Establishment Clause claim fails as a matter of law,” Moss wrote in his ruling. “Although all of Sevier’s claims appear to rely on this premise, his equal protection and due process claims fail for other reasons as well. Both merely reiterate Sevier’s view (expressed in other lawsuits) that the Constitution gives him the right to marry his computer.”
Sevier has filed a number of lawsuits in the past including one filed in Utah in 2016 where he sought the legal right to marry his computer. A Salt Lake City Fox affiliate reported that suit was also dismissed this month.
He has filed suit against former President Barack Obama, Apple and was recently a part of an effort to create a pornography tax in an attempt to crack down on human trafficking by charging smart device users a $20 fee to access pornographic websites.
The lawsuit was the second attack sustained by Lowenthal’s Pride flag in 2017. Earlier in the year a man had removed the flag and stomped on it, calling it “disgusting” and “immoral”.
Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz__LB on Twitter.
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