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Judge: LGBT activist group can canvass outside Target stores

Friday, April 8, 2011
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A San Diego court ruled Thursday that the grass-roots activist group Canvass for a Cause (CFAC) can continue its canvassing outside Target stores.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeffrey B. Barton ruled that the group must stay at least 30 feet away from Target’s doors and can only canvass at one entrance at a time, but he rejected Target’s efforts to prohibit them from canvassing altogether.

CFAC has canvassed of behalf of marriage equality, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as well as other LGBT and non-LGBT related causes.

Canvass for A Cause said its right to free speech was being challenged by the lawsuit, while Target claimed the group’s tactics were harming its business.

Judge Barton said Target and its powerful law firm of Morrison & Foerster, which has offices globally, failed to show sufficient evidence that the big-box retailer’s business was suffering as a result of the petitioners.

“This million-dollar law firm overreached in this case,” Watson said. “They got beat by a lawyer fresh out of law school and a volunteer lawyer.”

Canvass For A Cause team members were out today at Target stores in Mission Valley in San Diego and in Encinitas. “We are celebrating our freedom of speech rights today,” Watson said.

Canvass for a Cause wrote on its Facebook page that the judge’s order represents “a win, not just for the LGBT community, but for anyone who cherishes fundamental American values like free speech and participation in the democratic process.”

Minnesota-based Target has previously come under fire from gay rights activists following a political donation to MN Forward, a group that backed then-Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a fierce opponent of marriage equality and LGBT rights.

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