Arresting clergy who feed the homeless, city gets slapped with major lawsuit

In early November the South Florida city of Fort Lauderdale became the center of national attention for enforcing its new ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless unless it is done in government designated facilities.

Episcopal minister Mark Sims has been arrested multiple times for defying the new law, but now he has help fighting to get it abolished. 

Local attorneys Bill Scherer and Bruce Rogow will sue the city on behalf of the minister. 

“This statute, this law in the city, is unconstitutional,” Scherer told Local 10 News. “It’s nonsense. It’s trying to restrict the feeding programs so the homeless will not gather (in public), and will go somewhere else so we will not see them,” Scherer continued. 

The law violates the U.S. Constitution as well as the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to Scherer.

“The homeless people are not being treated equally with the rest of the community,” he told Local 10 News.

Sims has deeper moral reasons for standing his ground.

“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” Sims told the Sun Sentinel. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”

The city’s mayor, Jack Seiler, defended the controversial law.

“I’m not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in city of Fort Lauderdale,” Seiler told the Sun Sentinel. “Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive.”

The city has received extreme backlash from outraged people all over the country after the first arrests were reported. Beginning this week, they can watch the saga play out in court.

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45 thoughts on “Arresting clergy who feed the homeless, city gets slapped with major lawsuit

  1. Brenda Rose Harrington says:

    I thin it’s great some one is stepping in to help get rid of unconstitutional law, MORE POWER TO THE ATTORNEYS.

  2. Ray Stone says:

    Let me guess here on the Mayor, A Democrat I’ll bet/ Keep the poor getting help only from the Government.

  3. 277Volt says:

    That mayor has weapons-grade stupid if he can’t see the problem in defending keeping the “undesirables” out of sight.

    1. Doug says:

      Excellent point.

  4. M Lliteras says:

    They’ve been cited not arrested. It’s not about seeing the homeless, it’s about not having them crap and pee on people’s property, it’s about not having your stuff broken and stolen by the people being fed. This story is so convoluted and so easy to learn the truth but, like always, the media takes the easy way out and goes with the shocking story instead of the truth.

  5. TheIGofSA says:

    The most socialist ordinance every writter. Everyone who voted to pass this should be voted out

  6. Margie says:

    How about working side by side with ANY group willing to give help and be there and hand out information to provide them with information. You (the government) are never willing to get out of your 9-5 M-F box and do anything about it. Homeless are 24/7. Taking it to the streets.

  7. VinceFuess says:

    How noble of this mayor to “run off” the homeless by starving them, and making them his neighbor’s problem. Real noble all around there, Mr. Mayor!! After you cost your city millions with illegal and immoral scheme, I doubt you’ll get re-elected… in fact, you may get lynched (which can’t happen soon enough in my opinion).

    1. AFlaVet says:

      Why don’t you adopt or support a few of them them, Mother Theresa?

  8. Icorps1970 says:

    I hope they collect BIG. The Gov’t has to know there are limits to how controlling they can be. A priest feeding the poor in none of their business.

  9. AFlaVet says:

    ““The homeless people are not being treated equally with the rest of the community,” he told Local 10 News.”

    They’re not equal to the good decent taxpaying citizens of Ft. Lauderdale who are denied use of the parks they pay for, the beaches they pay for and every other service. Lauderdale refuses to look like San Fran-freako with bums defecating in the streets, sleeping on homeowners lawns, panhandling and the freaking crime that goes along with these creeps.

    Feed a man for a day….or teach a man to feed himself?

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