The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Friday that a federal district court should have considered whether a Gilbert, Ariz., sign ordinance unconstitutionally discriminates against religious signs among all non-commercial signs. The court sent the case, filed by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund who represent Good News Community Church (ARP), back to district court for a decision.
“Churches shouldn’t be discriminated against by a city’s sign ordinances,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman, who argued the case before the 9th Circuit on April 15. “The government cannot require churches to abide by stricter rules than it places on other non-commercial signs. The Constitution prohibits government officials from singling out religious groups for that kind of discrimination.”
In its opinion in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the 9th Circuit wrote that “Gilbert has adopted a sign ordinance that makes one’s head spin to figure out the bounds of its restrictions and exemptions.”