Last edited: February 14, 2005

Judge: Police Can't Order Gay Man To Leave Rest Area

Associated Press, October 29, 1999

BOSTON (AP) – A Middlesex Superior Court judge Friday issued an order forbidding the state police from forcing a gay man to leave a public rest area along Route 6, as long as he isn't breaking the law.

The man, a Cape Cod resident identified only as John Doe, was allegedly asked to leave the rest area four separate times by Trooper Shawn Walsh.

The trooper acknowledged he asked Doe to leave on two occasions, according to Doe's attorneys from the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. They said he wasn't doing anything illegal either time.

Doe filed suit in August, alleging the state police were motivated by anti-gay stereotypes.

Rest areas are rumored to be meeting grounds for homosexuals who wish to engage in sex, said John Ward, a lawyer for Doe.

''It is without dispute that Doe is entitled to use public roads and rest areas without having to fear harassment by police,'' said Judge Wendie Gershengorn in her opinion. ''Doe's actions, even as described by Walsh, were clearly legal.''

A trial is scheduled for January.

[Home] [News] [Massachusetts]