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Milwaukee to Pay $20K to Settle Gay Show Lawsuit


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - The city of Milwaukee has paid $20,000 to a gay performing group, to settle a lawsuit that challenged the temporary shutdown of a musical.

The city ordered a halt to the show “Naked Boys Singing” in 2005, while it reviewed an application for a theater permit by the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center. The center re-opened the show after receiving the permit.

The ACLU helped the group file a lawsuit in federal court, claiming the city violated the group’s free speech rights after getting complaints about the show’s content and nudity. The lawsuit asked for $800,000.

But after settling for $20,000, group director Paul Masterson said it was enough to send a message that the government should not interfere lightly with performances that celebrate gay identity. He said the police should not shut down a show just because some people are offended. The city says it does admit wrongdoing, and it settled because it was cheaper than fighting the lawsuit.