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Boston to pay $2.1M settlement following 5 years of litigation for refusing to fly Christian flag outside City Hall
Camp Constitution Chaplain Rev. Steven Louis Craft, Junior Camp Director Edith M. Craft, and Director of Camp Constitution Harold Shurtleff (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston to pay $2.1M settlement following 5 years of litigation for refusing to fly Christian flag outside City Hall

On Tuesday, the city of Boston agreed to a $2.1 million settlement for refusing to fly a Christian flag outside City Hall in 2017, WCVB reported. The case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in May, where the justices unanimously ruled against the city.

Christian legal organization Liberty Counsel represented city resident Hal Shurtleff and Camp Constitution, a Christian civic organization, in the case against the city of Boston.

According to Liberty Counsel, the $2.1 million settlement will cover the attorney fees and other costs associated with the litigation.

Matt Staver, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman, said in a statement, "We are pleased that, after five years of litigation and a unanimous victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, we joined with Hal Shurtleff to finally let freedom fly in Boston, the Cradle of Liberty."

Boston City Hall told Fox News Digital that Liberty Counsel was "entitled to attorney fees by statute as the prevailing party in a civil rights case."

"Settlement at this time also allows the city to avoid the costs and uncertainty associated with further litigation in this case," a city spokesperson noted.

What's the background?

Shurtleff and Camp Constitution requested a permit from the city in 2017 to hoist a Christian flag on one of the three poles on Boston's City Hall Plaza for Constitution Day. The city denied their request and argued that flying the flag would improperly promote a particular religion.

According to Liberty Counsel, Boston approved 284 flags between 2005 and 2017, with no denials, leading Shurtleff and Camp Constitution to believe that the request was denied because the flag was referred to as "Christian" on the request form.

Throughout the five-year legal battle, four lower courts ruled in favor of the city before the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. All nine Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled that Boston had violated Shurtleff's right to free speech by refusing the fly the flag.

The court noted that, at the time of Shurtleff's request, Boston "had no written policies or clear internal guidance about what flags groups could fly and what those flags would communicate." Since then, the city has passed an ordinance that clarifies flag raisings rules.

"Indeed, the city's practice was to approve flag raisings without exception — that is, until petitioners' request," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote. "Because the flag-raising program did not express government speech, Boston's refusal to let petitioners fly their flag violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →