Michigan Tea Party Sues over Sign Ban

Tuesday, 12 Apr 2011 01:31 PM

By Martin Gould

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A Tea Party group is taking a Michigan city to federal court after it was banned from posting signs in a public park because they were deemed "too controversial."

The city of Coldwater decided to prohibit all signs from the park after the decision, reports the Battle Creek Enquirer.

"The right to freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental constitutional rights and the city of Coldwater is trampling all over that right with this draconian sign restriction," said Richard Thompson, the lawyer who filed the suit.

The suit, filed under the Civil Rights Act by the Tea Party affiliated Common Sense Patriots of Branch County and two of its members is challenging the ordinance that bans all posters and banners from the downtown Four Corners Park in Coldwater, a city of 11,000 in southern Michigan.

The suit said the Patriots met five times in the park carrying messages such as "No More Taxes," "Give Me Liberty . . . Not Debt," and "Born Free . . . Taxed to Death."

The blanket ban was introduced in November on a 5-4 vote. City manager Jeffrey Budd, who is named in the suit, told the Enquirer the decision was “just not that big a deal."

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