The ACLU of Rhode Island and Center for Justice issued the following statement in response to this afternoon's ruling on Doe v. McKee, a lawsuit filed on behalf of of two dozen homeless individuals to allow them to continue camping at the State House to protest the lack of adequate housing for individuals in Rhode Island, which denied the request for an injunction.

"We are extremely disappointed in the court’s decision. We believe it fails to acknowledge the arbitrary and discriminatory way the state’s policies on overnight protest have been implemented, and makes light of an important state law designed to ensure public input, transparency and oversight over state policy making. 

"The plaintiffs have stayed at the State House in freezing weather to make an important point, and it is very unfortunate that the end result is that they now face arrest for doing so. 

"Eliminating this protest may prevent some people from having to directly confront a visible example of the state’s housing crisis, but it only hides the problem and denies the exercise of a fundamental freedom. 

"The protest has nonetheless had a salutary effect in that over the last several days, efforts have been successful in finding adequate housing for most of the protesters.  It is telling that it took a months’ long protest to get us to this point. 

"Over the next few days, we will talk with the clients to consider next steps."