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Hare Krishnas (and Others) Still Can't Ask For Money at LAX

Hand with coins photo by doraclub/Shutterstock
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If you've ever flown in or out of Los Angeles International Airport, you might remember passing a Hare Krishna devotee asking you for money. This week, a city ordinance adopted 15 years ago was upheld by a federal judge, which means beggars and donation-seekers are still not able to bug you for bucks at the airport.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall ruled the 1997 ordinance was constitutional because, among other things, LAX is not a public forum as defined under the First Amendment, according to City News Service.

Since the city ordinance was adopted in 1997, the Hare Krishnas have filed suit against the city and the airport's operating unit, which has cost the city money to combat. The challenge has been argued before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court. A ruling issued in 2010 made the ordinance enforceable; at the time, attorneys for the city "said that about 100 individuals representing at least 15 groups solicit money regularly at LAX," according to the L.A. Times.

That same ruling determined that Hare Krishnas, and others, could still preach at LAX, and ask that money be sent to them later.

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Proponents of the ordinance have long asserted that passengers traveling to and from LAX have the right to have their time in the airport be hassle-free--at least when it comes to being asked for donations.