- The Washington Times - Friday, October 7, 2016

A San Francisco judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a religious group who wants an open-air urinal removed from a city park.

The “pissoir” was installed in Mission Dolores Park in February as part of a $20.5 million renovation plan, and it quickly became the subject of a lawsuit filed by Pacific Justice Institute on the behalf of the San Francisco Chinese Christian Union.

In court documents filed in April, the plaintiffs called the pissoir offensive, indecent and unconstitutional. Weighing in last week, however, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn dismissed the suit after saying he was unconvinced by the groups’ arguments.

“The installation and maintenance of the pissoir does not contravene any of the constitutional provisions, statutes or common law rules cited by plaintiffs nor, even if it did, would there be any basis to issue the requested injunctive relief,” the judge wrote in a Friday filing that went unreported until late this week.

“Plaintiffs have failed to allege any claim for which they would be entitled to the relief they seek,” he added.

Andrea Guzman, a spokeswoman for the City Attorney’s Office, applauded the judge’s ruling in a statement sent to a local CBS affiliate.

“We are grateful that the court rejected this meritless suit from right-wing groups, allowing San Francisco to continue to be innovative in addressing neighbors concerns about public urination in the area,” she said.

Perched on a hill in Dolores Park, the installation consists of a 4-foot diameter concrete floor with a hole drilled in the middle for draining. It’s surrounded on three sides by a screen, and functions as an auxiliary facility in addition to the park’s 27 other, more traditional toilets.

In its initial filing, the plaintiffs said the pissoir violated privacy, sexual discrimination and public health laws, among various other rules and regulations.

“The installation of the pissoir creates the conditions for a public nuisance,” “is injurious to health,” “promotes conduct which is indecent” and “is offensive to the senses,” the lawsuit said.

“It’s a human regression of mankind,” Frank Lee of the Pacific Justice Institute previously told the Los Angeles Times when the suit was filed. “If this is not stopped, this will become the norm in San Francisco and spread to other cities.”

Described as an “active anti-LGBT group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Pacific Justice Institute’s critics said the nonprofit’s homophobic ideologies may have played a part in waging a legal fight centered around a city park in the heart of San Francisco’s gay community.

“They’re just against it because of homophobia, and they’re worried about perverts,” Doug Mackinnon, a 70-year-old neighbor of the park told the San Francisco Chronicle this week. “I thought it’d be more enclosed, but I don’t have anything against it.”

Pacific Justice Institute plans to appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss its suit, attorney Kevin Snider told a local CBS affiliate.

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