Federal appeals court dismisses lawsuit over gay marriage speech


A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a community college student who claimed a professor violated his right to free speech by stopping him from finishing a speech against gay marriage.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously overturned a lower court decision allowing Los Angeles City College student Jonathan Lopez’ case to go forward. [KNBC-TV]

Lopez alleged that speech instructor John Matteson cut him off midway through his oration when he quoted a dictionary definition of marriage and recited a pair of Bible verses.

He said Matteson also called him a “fascist bastard.”

In dismissing his case, the appeals court said Lopez “failed to make a clear showing” that he was harmed by the incident, which occurred just days after California voters in November 2008 enacted Proposition 8 a ban on gay marriages.

The ruling may provide some insight into the Ninth Circuit’s view of the Proposition 8 decision, which has been appealed to that court.

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