Small Group Protests Southern Decadence

Sat. August 30, 2003 12:00 AM by

Anti-Gay Demonstrators March Through New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana - A cordon of mounted police escorted a Christian fundamentalist group protesting homosexuality as they marched through crowds celebrating Southern Decadence Friday night in New Orleans' French Quarter.

The group numbered fewer than 300, far less than the 1,000 organizer Rev Grant E. Storms had predicted would turn up. Storms vowed this week to disrupt the annual Labor Day Weekend gay party. ( story) He is demanding the city cancel Southern Decadence claiming it violates Louisiana's tough new morality laws.

The festival's organizers have posted and handed out fliers informing visitors of the new indecency law that bans nudity. The law was passed after Storms gave copies of a videotape he gave to state legislators of last year's festival purporting to show gay men having sex in public.

Violators of the new law can get a 10-day jail sentence.

Protesters Friday night carried signs denouncing homosexuality and chanted "Hallelujah" as they passed thousands of gays celebrating the festival's 32nd year. Along Bourbon Street they were booed and heckled by thousands of gays. Festival organizers said they expected about 110,000 visitors to attend this event.

Storms said he and his group will stage another demonstration on Sunday.

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