PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors agreed to a compromise regarding a request from a local religious group to pray in city streets on Good Friday.
“This was a compromise I felt was necessary to respect the free speech rights of the Apostles for Life and at the same time acknowledge the rights of those to access services at a local business without impediment,” Councilor Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1) said at Thursday night’s meeting.
“It’s a way of acknowledging that the two groups have legal rights and we have to provide for both.”
Armstrong offered a resolution to allow the Bishop’s Apostles For Life to use three parking spaces at 65 Brinkerhoff St. across the road from Planned Parenthood of the North Country from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on April 18 to pray the Stations of the Cross.
The pro-life group has been praying in front of Planned Parenthood, which is located at 66 Brinkerhoff St., on the Catholic holiday of Good Friday for more than a dozen years.
The group prays in protest of the practice of abortion.
But their request to utilize three parking spaces at 66 Brinkerhoff St. was defeated by the council in a 4-2 vote last month. Councilors Michael Kelly (D-Ward 2), Becky Kasper (D-Ward 5) and Josh Kretser (D-Ward 6) joined Armstrong in voting against the request.
Dale Dowdle (R-Ward 3) and Paul “Crusher” O’Connell (D-Ward 4) voted in favor.
‘TAKE BACK THE NIGHT’
While the council was rejecting the Apostles request, they did allow for the Center for Womyn’s Concerns at SUNY Plattsburgh to hold a march through city streets as part of their “Take Back The Night” celebration on April 26 from 10 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.
The differing votes raised questions in the community and the Apostles asked for the matter to be reconsidered.