Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) was one of four members of Congress named in a lawsuit seeking the removal of the LGBTQ Pride flag from outside their Washington D.C. offices.
Long Beach Congressman Alan Lowenthal is being sued by a Los Angeles man for displaying the LGBTQ Pride flag outside his Washington D.C. offices, the lawsuit comes mere months after another man stomped on that same pride flag calling it “immoral” and “disgusting”.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Washington D.C. by Chris Sevier, a self-proclaimed former judge advocate general, combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, whistle blower, lobbyist and recording artist. Sevier is seeking nominal damages of $1 in addition to the flag’s removal from the hallway of the congressional building and a variety of reversals in marriage equality legislation, including the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in 2015 that made gay marriage legal nationwide.
Also named in the suit are three other Democrats including Congresswoman Susan Davis, who represents California’s 53rd District in San Diego County, Congressman Donald Beyer (Virginia) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) who also display the flag outside their offices. Sevier’s suit states that he does not object to the representatives moving the Pride flags inside their offices.
Lowenthal was the first member of Congress to fly the flag outside his Capitol Hill office. The flag that was ripped down and stomped on earlier this year had been displayed since 2013, about two years before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. He called the flag a symbol of how far the nation has come in regard to equality for all Americans, and how far the country still has to go.
“Now I am being sued by an individual who is “offended” by my Pride Flag and demands that it be removed (and, marriage equality reversed),” Lowenthal said in a Facebook post today. “I will fight this hateful attempt to silence equality and justice. We have come too far to allow the voices of bigotry and hate to win.”
Sevier states in the lawsuit that homosexuality is a religion and the rainbow flag is a religious symbol that infringes on his constitutional rights. As a DC lobbyist, Sevier says he is forced to pass the flag frequently and “feels unwelcome to access the the buildings”.
“The plaintiff does not share the same religious worldview as the Defendants on ‘sex’, ‘faith’, and ‘morality’ promoted by their public display of the Gay Pride Rainbow Colored Flag,” the lawsuit states. “The presence of the Gay Pride Rainbow Colored Flag is a religious symbol predicated on unproven faith based assumptions that is positioned in a manner that violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause under the ‘lemon test’ and ‘coercion test,’ along with other fundamental rights enjoyed by the Plaintiff and other citizens.”
In June 2016, Sevier made headlines when he announced he wanted to marry his computer. When denied a marriage license by a Utah County Clerk he filed a suit against the clerk, the governor of Utah and its attorney general under the basis that since same-sex marriage couples were allowed to wed, he should be able to marry his computer.
This past April, the Daily Beast profiled Sevier and his history of being a serial litigant. It found that he has sued Apple, Android, former President Barack Obama, xBox and A&E Networks for their removal of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson after his anti-gay remarks brought pressure on the network. He sued A&E on grounds of religious persecution in 2013.
Sevier is currently part of a conservative group championing a bill that would create a “pornography tax” where internet connected devices—smart phones, laptops, computers—would be fitted with a filter that would cost $20 to have it removed. The bill is framed as an attempt to crack down on human trafficking.
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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