Here at Custom Signs, we’ve been following the recent sign debacle over in Gilroy, Arizona with interest. If you remember correctly from our previous blog, in Gilroy there exists the Good News Church that doesn’t appear to have a permanent home and instead is forced to wander like a nomad and hold services wherever it can. Good News Church goers never know for sure where services will be held the next week and as a result, the church must rely on directional signs that they post all over town as Sunday approaches.
So what’s the problem? In the little town of Gilroy, Arizona there are special sign regulations put in place which dictate that any and all directional signs are only allowed to be displayed twelve hours prior to the event. As you could imagine, this makes letting your church congregation know where services are going to be held quite difficult – especially for any newcomers that might want to listen in, let alone for the pre-existing congregation.
When we last visited this sleepy yet seemingly dramatic little town, Good News Church Pastor Clyde Reed, was ready to take the issue all the way to the Supreme Court, and that is exactly what has happened. It is Pastor Reed’s position that the current sign regulations in place for Gilroy are unfair and unconstitutional in that they limit freedom of speech.
So what happened when the Supreme Court justices took a look at the case? According to an article by the Washington Post, “The Supreme Court found so many things to question about an Arizona town’s sign ordinance Monday that it was difficult to tell exactly which grounds the justices might ultimately cite if, as seems likely, they strike it down.” Because the sign regulations in the town allow signs of a political nature more time to be displayed, it is the church’s attorney David Cortman, who believes that the government should not be allowed to decide what speech is to be more valuable than others, which is exactly what he believes has happened in the case of the church.
In the proceedings, Justice Stephen G. Breyer asked “‘Are you saying they can’t say, ‘Three blocks right and two blocks left’? That’s what this argument is about?’ ‘That is what it comes down to,’ Savrin answered. ‘Well, my goodness,’ Breyer replied. ‘I mean…on that, it does sound as if the town is being a little unreasonable, doesn’t it?’”
While it doesn’t sound like a definitive decision in the matter has been reached yet, but we think it’s safe to say that things aren’t looking good for the town’s case against the church. The Justices instead seem more amused that this issue has even come to this point and that the town seemingly won’t budge on the matter.
How do you feel about this issue? Do you feel like the government should have a say in what messages are more important for people to see? Let us know in the comments section!