Who Should Pay $200K Legal Fees to Bring Anti-Gay Street Preachers to Court?

The attorneys for a pair of street preachers who were arrested and briefly jailed for preaching against homosexuality on a sidewalk in downtown Greenville, S.C., in 2007 are now back in court to settle who should pay for the $200,000 in legal fees.

Joshua Glidewell, the man at the center of this debate was advocating his position condemning same-sex couples when he was arrested for violating Greenville city ordinances that aims to prevent “molesting and disturbing persons.”

Joseph Bane and Glidewell were arrested in 2007 and accused of shouting at a lesbian couple on a street corner in downtown Greenville. When Glidewell was arrested he spent 14 hours in jail. The women testified that Bane had yelled a slur at them and said, "You will burn in hell," according to court documents.

Bane was convicted in municipal court in October 2008 and ordered to pay a $200 fine. The other street preacher, Glidewell, was cleared but later sued the city of Greenville in federal court, claiming his free-speech rights had been violated.

The jury convicted Bane of the charge, but the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned his conviction on the grounds that a portion of the city’s ordinance was unconstitutional in 2010.

Bane's attorney, Samuel Harms stated after the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision to rule in favor of bane that he “is very pleased that Christians will be able to continue to preach against the sin of homosexuality on the streets of Greenville," according to AP.

Glidewell filed the civil rights suit against the city in the summer of 2010; two years after the city alleged he and Bane violated the city's “molesting and disturbing persons” ordinance by shouting at a lesbian couple.

The city argued that Glidewell and Bane had been free to preach on the street before and after their arrest and that the problem with their actions arose not from speaking publicly about religion or handing out pamphlets as they have done for years, but from loudly harassing passersby.

The Greenville district attorney’s office has told The Christian Post that it refuses to comment on pending litigation.