Tim Hull reports:
A Michigan church that subpoenaed several anonymous email accounts after LGBT-rights activists interrupted its services should not face a sanction, the 9th Circuit ruled Monday.
Members of the now-defunct group Bash Back disrupted services at Lansing’s Mount Hope Church in 2008, chanting, “‘It’s OK to be gay’ and ‘Jesus was a homo’ while flinging pamphlets, glitter, and condoms into the air,” according to the court.
With the assistance of the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, Mount Hope filed a federal complaint against Bash Back, its Lansing chapter, 14 named individuals and seven John Does, alleging trespass and violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Unable to learn the identities of the Doe defendants, Mount Hope subpoenaed the names of seven anonymous email account holders from service-provider Riseup Networks.
Riseup and the email owners moved to quash the subpoena, claiming that it violated the First Amendment and was too broad, burdensome and vague in its requests. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones agreed. He denied the church’s motion to compel and quashed the subpoena.
Then, further agreeing with Riseup that it had been forced to fight a “baseless” subpoena, he slapped the church with $28,000 in sanctions.
Read more on Courthouse News and kudos to Riseup for fighting subpoena.