Angela Michael and their 11 children who run Small Victories
Ministry from their
home will be allowed to carry signs larger than a piece of
notebook paper in the upcoming Labor Day Parade in
United States District Judge William Stiehl ruled that
cannot enforce Ordinance 7878, which prohibits signs larger than
8 1/2 by 11 inches within a 25-foot distance of any portion of a
Daniel Michael testified that he has been active in pro-life
for some time and stated that he normally carries signs on
public sidewalks, and that he wants the signs, and their
messages, to be seen by people participating in the Labor Day
He testified that the signs he carries are usually 2-foot by
3-foot or 4-foot by 6-7-foot.
He told Stiehl he wanted politicians in the Labor Day parade to
see the signs he would be carrying because of the message they
detailed about his personal, religious belief that abortion is
improper and the politicians should do something about this
Daniel also said that if he were to hold a sign in compliance
with Ordinance 7878, the politicians, who are in moving
vehicles, would not be able to see the signs at all. He also
argued that if the Ordinance is in effect at the parade he would
not likely protest for fear of punishment.
"It has long been recognized that the protection of the
First Amendment extends beyond 'pure speech' and includes the
peaceful expression of views by picketing, marching or
demonstrating," Stiehl wrote in his 10 page order Aug. 31.
"The First Amendment forbids the government from regulating
speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the
expense of others," he added.
Stiehl continued, "Clearly, a state may not keep law and
order by depriving its citizens of their rights and the City of
could not deny a parade permit simply because of the concern
about the adverse reaction to the marchers by others.
"Although the City certainly is not powerless to prevent
imminent violence or lawlessness resulting from a clash between
the marchers and onlookers, any curtailment of First Amendment
rights must be based on a present abuse of rights, not merely a
fear of future misconduct.
"A narrowly tailored ordinance to accomplish this goal is
"There is no valid basis for the argument that an 8 1/2 by
11 inch sign is the least restrictive alternative available to
meet the goals of free pedestrian traffic, unobstructed views by
parade goers and public safety.
"To say that plaintiffs' target audience of politicians,
walking or riding in cars as parade participants, would even be
able to see a sign that is 8 ½ by 11 inches at a distance of 25
feet from the parade route is absurd.
"The Court is hard pressed to think of a more public forum
than a Labor Day parade full of local, state and even national
politicians who will travel down a major city street. This is
precisely the type of forum that the courts have recognized as a
critical venue for the free expression of speech by citizens.
"The loss of an ability to exercise one's right to free
speech, even for minimal periods of time, unquestionably
constitutes irreparable injury."
In a press release the Michael family stated, "Judge
William Stiehl had the wisdom of King Solomon to grant our
request for an injunction against
and their biased sign ordinance. When you can't attack the
message you try and silence the messengers."
It also stated, "Gentle Christians will be able to stand in
the streets of
and expose the truth of what
protects and allows to happen in their city. If the abortion
signs are so horrible, then why are we allowing it to happen in
? Once known for their towering steel mills, now known for the
late-term baby killing mill."