Washington, DC– Today, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of a church’s challenge to a town sign ordinance. Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in the case, on behalf of itself and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
In the case, the Town of Gilbert restricted Good News Community Church signs to 12 hours before and after services. The signs helped direct the small congregation to the service locations, which often changed from week to week.
Today’s decision overturns a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which based its opinion on the fact that the Town of Gilbert, outside of Phoenix, did not have an “illicit motive” or a desire “to suppress certain ideas” when it placed tighter restrictions on church signs than on business or political signs. The High Court disagreed and found that the sign ordinance was content-based discrimination.
“Today is a ‘David and Goliath’ moment, where a pastor of a small church congregation wins over the Town of Gilbert and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Government cannot restrict speech because it disagrees with the message. Freedom of speech is given to us by God, protected by our Constitution, and enshrined in the hearts of Americans,” Staver continued. “I congratulate Pastor Clyde Reed for his tenacity to stand up against a giant, armed with the First Amendment!”