Little church, little signs, big decision

Via AZ Central:

The government’s innocent or good intentions do not provide First Amendment cover for laws that play free speech favorites, according to the Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert.

This rule helps put everyone —t he powerful and the disenfranchised, the popular and the despised — on an even playing field in the marketplace of ideas by reducing the opportunities for government abuse of First Amendment free-speech rights.

Humble facts led to this monumental decision that will have a far-reaching impact. Eighty-two year-old Clyde Reed pastors Good News Presbyterian Church, a small church that lacks a building of its own. To inform the public of its service locations, the church would post signs on Saturday regarding its Sunday services.

The church, however, found itself in trouble with the town of Gilbert because it considered the church’s signs to be “temporary directional signs” subject to stricter size, duration and quantity regulations than other categories of signs, such as political and ideological signs.

After failing in his attempts to resolve the matter with the town informally, Pastor Reed filed a lawsuit he never imagined he would need to file.