Terry Jones will demonstrate in Dearborn on Saturday, and , the Thomas More Law Center confirmed Thursday.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor on behalf of Jones and Associate Pastor Wayne Sapp, alleges that the city has violated the two men's free speech rights. The claim is based on the fact that the city has asked Jones to sign a "hold harmless" agreement releasing the city of any responsibility for damage to his property or personal injury during his Saturday afternoon protest.
The city agreed to waive the hold harmless agreement, with the stipulation that the lawsuit would be dropped.
TMLC President and Chief Counsel Richard Thompson said, however, that they would not drop the lawsuit, even after Jones speaks in front of the Islamic Center of America on Saturday.
"What we’re challenging here is the whole process and the ordinance," Thompson said. "The next time it might not be Pastor Jones … it might be some other organization the city uses this process. It’s the process itself that is unconstitutional."
The city of Dearborn's legal department confirmed Wednesday that hold harmless agreements are standard documents required for any events held on city grounds.
The federal court disagrees.
Thursday afternoon, Detroit Federal Judge Denise Page Hood, who was assigned the lawsuit, granted the a motion for an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order and enjoined the City of Dearborn from requiring Pastor Jones to sign a Hold Harmless agreement.
Furthermore, Judge Hood stated her belief that the hold harmless agreement is unconstitutional.
“This is clearly an unconstitutional clause which impedes Plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to free speech and assembly," she wrote. “The ordinance requiring the indemnity agreement and the “Hold Harmless” presented to Plaintiffs are unconditional and violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as to Plaintiff and others who wish to exercise their rights to speak and assemble in the public fora.”
Thompson said he believes that the city realizes that the agreement is unconstitutional, as shown by its willingness to waive the agreement.
Mayor Jack O'Reilly said Wednesday that the decision to waive the agreement was with the intention to not prolong the city's involvement with Jones–to let him have his say, and then leave Dearborn. He added that in his knowledge, Dearborn is one of the most accommodating cities in southeast Michigan in terms of allowing free speech and protecting protesters, whatever their cause.
Thompson confirmed that the lawsuit will go forward.
“Dearborn has a history of discriminating against Christians who want to speak out against the internal threat of Sharia law and Islam," he said in a release sent out Thursday by the law center. "And every time the City attempts to curtail the Constitutional rights of Christians, we will confront them in a court of law."