FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LOUISVILLE, KY – The ACLU of Kentucky today sent a letter to David Beck, president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board, regarding the removal of a billboard message in support of abortion rights paid for the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC). KRCRC is a group of people of faith—clergy, faith leaders, congregants, and people of conscience—who believe a person’s right to make their own reproductive choices is sacred and fundamental to religious freedom.
In April 2021, the billboard message was removed because the billboard owner, Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB), reportedly found the content “objectionable.” However, because KSFB is a state agency, any action restricting speech on that billboard display is subject to and governed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. KSFB is seemingly violating the First Amendment both in enforcing an unconstitutional and vague policy regarding removal of certain billboards, and in removing KRCRC’s billboard. The First Amendment significantly limits the government’s ability to restrict speech in certain forums like this, absent some compelling or reasonable justifications for its restriction on speech.
“A state agency cannot suppress speech based on personal feelings about an issue,” said Corey Shapiro, legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky. “The billboard should be reinstated and allowed to run for the originally agreed upon time frame in the high-profile location KRCRC originally chose.”
Read the letter in the PDF below.
Read more about this via the Louisville Courier-Journal here.
Photo credit: Kentucky Today