Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have taken legal action against the cities of Anaheim and Riverside in California, as well as several liberal advocacy groups, claiming a violation of their First Amendment rights. The lawmakers had planned to hold America First rallies in these cities in 2021, but the events were canceled due to pressure from activists and local government officials.
Coordinated Cancellations and Claims of Coercion
Gaetz and Taylor Greene’s lawsuit, filed on Thursday, suggests that the cities worked together with advocacy groups to force private venues to cancel their rallies. According to the lawsuit, the cities allegedly coerced these venues by threatening to revoke permits and engaged in actions that infringed upon the lawmakers’ freedom of speech.
Seeking Injunction and Damages
In addition to their legal action, Gaetz and Taylor Greene, along with their funding committees, are seeking an injunction to prevent cities from coercing private venues in the future. They are also requesting damages for the emotional distress caused by the cancellation of their rallies.
Ten Advocacy Groups Named in Lawsuit
The lawsuit specifically names ten advocacy groups that are believed to have pressured the cities into canceling the rallies. The complaint outlines the exact actions taken by these groups to exert influence over the venues and prevent the events from taking place.
Response from the Cities
At present, neither the cities of Anaheim nor Riverside have provided an official response to the lawsuit. The chief communications officer for Anaheim stated that they are aware of the legal action and will review it upon receipt.
Continuation of the Rally
Despite the cancellations, Gaetz and Taylor Greene went ahead with their rally outside Riverside City Hall.
The lawsuit, brought forth by Gaetz and Taylor Greene, raises important questions concerning the boundaries of free speech and the impact that advocacy groups have on event cancellations. The outcome of these legal proceedings will undoubtedly have implications for safeguarding First Amendment rights and the ability of public figures to hold rallies and express their opinions openly.