Eight years after the case was dragged from justice to justice, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an unanimous resolve to the Good News Community Church vs. Gilbert.
9 votes for and 0 against represented the final breath of the case in which the parishioners of the Good News Community Church challenged the sign regulation in place in the town of Gilbert, Arizona.
For some, it is a loss for governmental regulatory powers, but for others who saw the ridicule in this case, it is a well deserved win.
The U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the town of Gilbert violated the U.S. First Amendment when treating signs across the town differently, based on their content.
In Gilbert, there are 23 different types of signage that are allowed to be erected without having obtained a permit. However, there are some that need regulatory oversight, such as political campaign signs and church signs.
To this extent, the Alliance Defending Freedom that overtook the case of the Good News Community Church successfully proved that while church signs are restricted to 6 square feet and a display time of only 12 hours, political content signs are regulated at 32 square feet and can stand at any given time.
Against this background, the Good News Community Church took legal action against the town of Gilbert. Jeremy Tedesco, Attorney made a point of proving how in fact it is political signs that hinder the attention of drivers.
The parishioners of the Good News Community Church only amount to approximately 32 and their church is so financially challenged that it often changes the location of meetings. Thus, signage alerting parishioners is more than needed.
But with only 12 hours of standing time, there is little the signs can do to bring the congregation together. The town of Gilbert argued that the signs are unaesthetic and they might draw the driver’s’ attention, prompting accidents to happen.
However, in a twisted logic, the same could not happen in the case of political content signs that are up for longer and feature significantly larger dimensions.
For the attorneys representing the Good News Community Church it was an easy case to prove that the discrimination was based on the content of the signs, thus addressing the First Amendment.
The U.S. Supreme Court justices agreed. However, the U.S. Supreme Court sees the ruling as a compelling argument for local governments to thoroughly justify the distinctive treatment applied to different categories of signs, going beyond discrimination based on content.
By comparison, the Good News Community Church hailed the decision as a fire-proof test for religious freedom.
Far from that, the ruling of the U.S. Supreme court in the case of Good News Community Church against the town of Gilbert, Arizona, is a win for the constitutional First Amendment.
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