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Settlement means Modesto man free to speak in public plaza

ADF attorneys reach favorable settlement with city of Modesto, Christian man can continue to peacefully share faith

FRESNO, Calif. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys have reached a favorable settlement with the city of Modesto, freeing a Christian man to share his faith in a popular downtown public plaza.  Last July, ADF attorneys filed suit against the city of Modesto on behalf of Kevin Borden after city officials restricted him and his friends from peacefully sharing their faith in a public area on Saturday evenings.

“Christians shouldn’t be discriminated against for peacefully expressing their beliefs in a public area,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Heather Gebelin Hacker.  “We are pleased the city of Modesto has acknowledged Kevin Borden’s free speech rights and has agreed to allow him to express his beliefs just like anyone else in the public square.”

Nearly every Saturday night for three years, Borden has shared his faith with others at Tenth Street Plaza.  After Brenden Theaters, a private business located on the plaza, complained about Borden’s speech, the city allowed Brenden to rent the plaza almost every Saturday evening for several months.  Brenden subsequently prohibited Borden and his associates from the entering the area, even though no events were taking place in the plaza and no one else was excluded.

In November, the court granted a motion for preliminary injunction filed by ADF attorneys, which allowed Borden to freely share his faith while the lawsuit continued.  A federal judge entered the consent order Wednesday, which formalizes the settlement between the parties.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.