Officials at the Memorial and Library Association, in charge of Westerly Library and Wilcox Park, banned and threatened Gail Blair, 63, with arrest if she did not stop having conversations with others in the park about Jesus, according to a discrimination complaint.
The complaint was filed in June 2020 with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights against the library association.
Blair, represented by First Liberty Institute and attorney William Wray Jr., reached an agreement late last week so she could once again talk about her faith at the park.
“I am thankful to First Liberty Institute and all my attorneys for fighting on my behalf and look forward to once again spending time in the park and sharing my faith in Jesus with those who are interested in having the conversation,” Blair said.
During her chats, Blair, who worked as a nurse until 1991 and suffered from a disorder that caused gradual vision loss, typically would offer a copy of the Gospel of John. Association members called the police on June 24, 2019, claiming she “acost[ed]” patrons by “stopping” 和 “giving them religious pamphlets.”
Blair’s attorneys filed discrimination charges alleging that by prohibiting Gail from entering the park and sharing her faith, the association violated Rhode Island’s laws and discriminated on the basis of religion and disability.
“We commend the Rhode Island’s Memorial and Library Association for resolving the case and recognizing our client’s religious liberty,” Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty, 在声明中说. “Our client is thrilled that she can once again enter the park across the street from her home and talk with other visitors.”
A representative for the association told Fox News in June it “does not engage in nor tolerate any forms of discrimination.”
“The association vehemently denies any claims of discrimination or wrongdoing and it looks forward to receiving a copy of the complaint in order to rebut and disprove any claims made by Ms. Blair.”
在七月 2019, Blair was volunteering with her church’s Bible school event in the park when the Westerly Police Department informed her she had trespassed and warned her future violations would result in her being arrested.