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Gilbert Church Wants U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Sign Case

Alliance Defending Freedom

Attorneys for a tiny Gilbert congregation want the nation’s high court to void regulations that limit the size and placement of signs to its services. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The fight being taken up by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian public interest law firm, is on behalf of the Good News Community Church. With no building of its own, it has met in rented spaces ranging from schools to a senior living center. But, attorney David Cortman said city regulations allow the congregation to post signs only 12 hours before the services, and it limits the signs to six square feet. Cortman said political signs can be 32 square feet and remain in place for months. He said even what the town calls ideological signs can be permanent and up to 20 square feet. Cortman said cities can enact sign regulations — but with limits.

“It has freedom to regulate all similar signs the same. And as long as they do so, that’s fine. So, for example, if they say temporary signs can be up 30 days for each event, or whatever have you, as long as it’s a neutral regulation that applies across the board, that’s all that the church is asking,” Cortman said.

The church has to take its argument to the Supreme Court because the 9th Circuit upheld the restrictions last year. The majority concluded the town was free to set special rules for temporary signs as long as it did not discriminate based on the religious content of the message.

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