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Catholic bookstore challenges Jacksonville law requiring it to speak against its religious beliefs

ADF attorneys represent Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore in federal lawsuit
Queen of Angels Store Front

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Catholic bookstore in Jacksonville filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a city law that requires Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore to speak against its beliefs and to silence its religious views to remain in business. Queen of Angels is a Catholic bookstore that serves the Jacksonville community by selling books, crucifixes, and other Catholic resources to the public.

In everything it does, Queen of Angels and its owner Christie DeTrude strive to honor God and promote their Catholic beliefs, including through the store’s website and YouTube channel. The bookstore serves all customers and gladly sells its products to anybody but DeTrude and her bookstore staff cannot speak messages that violate their faith. Thus, they affirm that men and women are different and cannot use pronouns or titles that don’t align with a customer’s sex. DeTrude also wants to explain this policy and her Catholic beliefs about gender and sexuality in her store and on the store’s website. However, doing so is illegal under Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance, which forbids communications that could lead someone to feel “unwelcome” based on various protected traits. The law threatens Queen of Angels with unlimited fines and damages if it doesn’t comply.

“Free speech is for everyone. Americans should be free to say what they believe without fear of government punishment,” said ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Csutoros. “Christie, owner of Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore, gladly serves everyone, but she can’t speak messages that go against her religious beliefs. Yet Jacksonville is illegally mandating Queen of Angels abandon its religious beliefs—the very faith that motivates the store to open its doors to customers every day.”

“Christie established Queen of Angels bookstore to serve the Jacksonville community and to share her Catholic beliefs, but city officials threaten her with unlimited fines if she does so,” said ADF Senior Counsel Hal Frampton. “This case is the latest example of government officials across the country using radical ideology to cancel those who disagree. Punishing someone because of their views not only runs afoul of the First Amendment, but it also has devastating consequences for free speech, working professionals, women, and children.”

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Queen of Angels Catholic Bookstore v. City of Jacksonville, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division.

  • Pronunciation guide: Csutoros (Suh-TOR’-iss)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Hal Frampton
Hal Frampton
Senior Counsel
Hal Frampton serves as senior counsel in the Center for Conscience Initiatives at Alliance Defending Freedom.