The best urban flea market in the United States is a thing of the past.
In a major blow to the market’s growth, a federal judge ruled last week that it had to close because of a lack of compliance with a federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The decision means that the market, which closed for a record 10 years last year, will no longer be a part of the city’s urban fleamarket, the MarketPlace, or the National Flea Market.
The move came in response to a lawsuit filed by a gay couple who claimed they were fired from the Marketplace because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The suit also cited the state’s anti-discrimination law as part of its argument that the business violated their rights.
The judge sided with the plaintiffs, though he declined to impose a specific amount of damages.
The ruling came after the market had already closed for nearly a decade.
In a blog post on Tuesday, the Center for Equal Opportunity, which represents the gay couple, wrote that they are “very happy” with the decision, and that they would be looking to reopen.
The city of Chicago filed an emergency petition with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on Wednesday, asking the judge to extend the closing until April 29, 2019.
The lawsuit alleged that the two men were fired because of discrimination and that the city had failed to act on the complaints of other gay couples.
“We believe this is a historic day for our city,” said Jonathan Haidt, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a frequent critic of the federal government.
“This is the beginning of a long process that we hope will lead to a fair and just outcome.”
While the ruling is a blow to Chicago’s fleamarkset, it is not the end.
The city is likely to appeal.
The ruling means that if the market is able to reopen in 2019, the plaintiffs will still be able to file their lawsuit.
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