The Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) has stepped up its efforts to preserve the free speech rights of Oakland Pastor Walter Hoye, a black minister who was imprisoned for his outspoken pro-life beliefs.
The LLDF plans to bring legal action against the Oakland, Calif., which currently has an ordinance banning any pro-life agent from coming within 8 feet of women heading to the clinic for abortions.
The legal organization’s argument is that the rule is unfairly enforced, because “escorts” of the pro-choice women are allowed to be within the boundaries, even though they are not health care professionals.
A permanent injunction, if allowed, would rectify the situation and permit Hoye and others to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech.
“The city is violating the free speech of people who want to protect life," said Dana Cody, Executive Director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. "Pastor Hoye is speaking the truth within the law, but the city of Oakland is finding ways to eliminate his voice.”
The LLDF is instrumental to Hoye’s life outside of prison. If not for them, he could be spending two years behind bars without a possible hope of escape.
Hoye’s crime was simple: he stood outside the Family Planning Specialists clinic in Oakland, holding signs that read, “Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help,” and “Can I talk to you for a minute about abortion alternatives?”
On May 13, 2008 Hoye was arrested, and in January, he was found guilty of two misdemeanors for violating the ordinance, despite the fact that the only reference to the legislation is in rewritten legal briefings.
As previously reported by The Christian Post, video evidence was shown by the defense, which depicted Hoye being pointed at by a tape measure by an upset woman outside the facility. Every time he was approached, Hoye moved away. Unfortunately, this did not stop the law from painting him as an offender.
Other black ministers like Rev. Johnny Hunter, the president of Life Education and Resources Network traveled to California in 2009 to morally support Hoye.
“To silence the gospel is unacceptable,” Hunter said to The Christian Post, “It violates the freedom of speech of every Christian in this nation.”