NATCHITOCHES, LA - The ACLU of Louisiana today obtained a court order that prevents the city of Natchitoches from requiring the ACLU's client, Edwin Crayton, to obtain a permit before protesting.
"This victory recognizes what the courts have said all along, 'it is offensive not only to the values protected by the First Amendment, but to the very notion of a free society that in the context of everyday public discourse, a citizen must first inform the government of her desire to speak to her neighbors and then obtain a permit to do so,'" said Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, Joe Cook.
Mr. Crayton is a devout Christian who sought to protest on the public sidewalk in front of Wal-Mart in Natchitoches. Mr. Crayton sought to express his views that homosexual marriage is immoral and sought to discourage Christians from shopping at Wal-Mart, which he understands to support gay marriage.
"We are pleased that the city of Natchitoches agreed to lift all restraints on Mr. Crayton's right to speak," said Katie Schwartzmann, Staff attorney for the ACLU. "The right to speak one's conscience on matters of religious and political import is integral to a free and democratic society."
The case is set for final hearing on January 26, 2007. Cooperating attorney Jane Johnson and Staff attorney Katie Schwartzmann represent the plaintiff.