Gays take police to court for banning parade

Jerusalem police have announced that they are banning a planned gay parade slated to take place next month on the day before Rosh Hashana, while organizers vowed to take petition the High Court of Justice over their latest veto. The newest dispute mirrors a similar standoff over last month's international gay parade, which was cancelled due to the war in Lebanon. The city's Gay and Lesbian Center then scheduled a local parade for September 21. Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said Wednesday that police did not have ample forces to secure the event at such a busy time, which also coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He added that organizers refused to offer police any alternative date for the event. Organizers countered that police were just making excuses, and vowed to take them to court. "Every year we get a new excuse why we cannot hold our parade," said Hagai El-Ad, executive-director of Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center. The organization has held four previous parades in the city. The annual local parade, which draws several thousand participants, has been the source of repeated debate, with many religious city councilors and a not insignificant number of largely-traditional city residents considering such an event inappropriate for a "holy" city. During the last gay parade in the city, a haredi man stabbed three participants. Organizers have rejected the government's request to hold the parade outside the city.