(CN) – The full 11th Circuit agreed to reconsider a challenge to Orlando’s requirement that charities and churches get permits to feed the homeless in downtown city parks.
In deciding to rehear the case, the federal appeals court in Atlanta vacated a panel decision upholding the city’s permit requirements for “large group feedings.”
Orlando passed the ordinance in response to complaints by residents concerned about the large numbers of homeless people dispersed into their neighborhoods after receiving food at city parks.
The First Vagabonds Church of God and a political activist group called Orlando Food Not Bombs challenged the restriction as a violation of the First Amendment and state religious freedom laws.
In July, a three-judge panel ruled that “just feeding people in the park” is not clearly protected speech, and that the city has a legitimate interest in reducing the “wear and tear” on its parks.
The decision to rehear the case en banc temporarily reinstates a federal judge’s order barring enforcement of the ordinance.