suspends sign ordinance in Granite City
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
LOUIS Granite City abortion protesters won a victory in federal
court Thursday when a federal judge froze an ordinance that would have
restricted protesters' signs near parades to the size of notebook paper.
ordinance temporarily suspended, the protesters are expected to attend
Monday's annual Labor Day parade in Granite City in full force.
Daniel and Angela
Michael of Highland, who run an abortion protest group, had sued, saying
the ordinance infringed on their First Amendment rights.
Court Judge William D. Stiehl granted a preliminary injunction against
the ordinance and said the Michaels were likely to succeed in their
The Michaels have
made a habit of showing up at parades and outside the Hope Clinic for
Women in Granite City with large signs showing aborted fetuses. After an
altercation last year between protesters and parade-goers, the City
Council passed the ordinance, which limited signs within 25 feet of the
parade to 8 1/2 by 11 inches.
city of Granite City was trying to do is silence our message," said
Daniel Michael, who runs the group "Small Victories" with his
wife Angela and their children. "It's not about the signs, how big
they are or how little they are. It's about abortion."
and police had argued that the restrictions were not related to content
but only intended to keep the peace. Courts have historically upheld the
government's right to create restrictions on the time, place and manner
of speech if there's a strong public interest.
Mayor Ed Hagnauer said he and other officials have received numerous
complaints about the Michaels and other abortion protesters. Hagnauer
and police have said they fear that physical violence will result one
that this law was a way to protect the children and just the people who
have really no reason to see these grotesque pictures," said Maj.
Jeff Connor. "We just want to be able to keep the peace."
The Michaels say
they will continue to fight in federal court to have the ordinance
permanently struck down. Hagnauer said city attorneys would review the
judge's ruling and proceed.
Judge Stiehl had
encouraged the two parties to reach an amicable agreement. The Michaels
had previously offered to contain themselves to a cordoned-off section
along the parade route.
officials said they weren't interested.
NOTICE** In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any
copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use
without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only.
[ Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml