Billings Minister Wins Free Speech Suit
An interesting quandary. Free speech. Should an organization receiving tax-exempt status from the government be allowed to engage in political speech? The following is an excerpt from a Gazette article reporting on a recent case where a Billings minister was arrested for doing just that:
A Billings minister has prevailed in his federal suit against state and Yellowstone County officials who he alleged violated his free speech rights when he was arrested while collecting anti-abortion petition signatures at MetraPark.
Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Tuesday approved a joint settlement in which the state and county agreed not to enforce an obscure state law that limited the speech of ministers, clergy and church regarding candidates and ballot issues.
The state acknowledged in court records that the law was unconstitutional and that it had not been and would not be enforced. The state also said it would not include the law in so-called “warning posters” in future elections.