Legal Society Sues for Dayton Stand Up Rally Group
The Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit in US District Court Friday on behalf of the Dayton Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally participants who were made to put their signs down by Sinclair Community College campus police in June.
One of more than 160 simultaneous rallies around the United States, the Dayton rally was sponsored by a campus club and was held with permission from the college.
Sinclair Police and Sinclair Community College officials say their sign ban was based on school policy that bars disruptive behavior. Because of ongoing friction between the sponsoring group, the Traditional Values (TV) Club, and a campus group for homosexual activists, the campus police told all at the rally to put away signs and placards in what the Thomas More Society says is a clear violation of First Amendment right to free speech.
Speakers at the event, some of whom speak regularly around the country, say they have never seen such a police action at a rally. Nothing similar happened at any other Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally that day, or at the previous national rally in March.
“Schools are meant for the free expression of ideas, but Sinclair has taken the stance that its students must check their free speech rights at the door,” said Peter Breen executive director and legal counsel of the Thomas More Society. “Threatening students with arrest for holding signs at a permitted, peaceful rally is a clear, egregious violation of the First Amendment. We intend to seek full relief for our clients.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and is being brought on behalf of two students enrolled at Sinclair as well as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for Priests for Life, who was a speaker at the rally. See this link to view lawsuit.
The Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that pursues cases related to respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. It is a non-profit organization supported by private donations. To learn more about the Society or make a donation, see the link above.
Photo courtesy Stand Up for Religious Freedom — Dayton.