It is with humbled honor that the Allen County Libertarian Party of Ohio announces our members can look forward to distributing literature during the Star Spangled Spectacular in Faurot Park out of respect for our constitutionally guaranteed right to do so.
A year ago, several party members were accosted by a member of the SSSI planning committee who eventually requested intervention by the Lima Police Department to enforce the committee’s policy for them – despite the fact no law exists in the city’s code authorizing such action and doing so was in full and undeniable violation of our rights as protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Through assistance from an attorney who assisted with potential litigation efforts and recent direct communication with city officials, the ACLPO has been made aware of a pair of important developments: City Attorney Tony Geiger verified there is no language on the city of Lima’s books prohibiting the distribution of literature on public property – including during a permit-related event such as tomorrow’s; also, we have learned that Star Spangled Spectacular, Inc., has recognized its prohibition of activity such as ours ran counter to the letter and spirit of the United States Constitution.
While no actual litigation has been filed, we were in touch last year with Maurice Thompson, executive director for the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, who eventually connected us with the law firm Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson – based in Cincinnati.
In light of the developments described above, the attorneys involved have decided not to move forward at this time – although the requisite paperwork that has been drafted remains on file in the event it is needed for any reason in the future.
While we believe it was necessary to assert our constitutional rights and as such we were fully justified in seeking legal avenues for a resolution, Allen County Libertarians are aware of the reasoning behind SSSI’s policy. We understand their desire to avoid any appearance of religious or political bias as well as concerns over the potential for 4th of July patrons improperly discarding printed materials and adding to the clutter for post-event cleanup.
ACLPO Chair Don Kissick has sent communication to Walt Kinsey, a senior member of SSSI’s committee, seeking an opportunity to discuss solutions to those concerns which would both honor the constitutional rights of the citizens of our great community and preserve the integrity and image of the Star Spangled Spectacular.
As of yet, we continue to hope for an opportunity to have that discussion.
Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this matter. We are looking forward to not only celebrating Independence Day and the birth of our nation that it represents, but also to spreading the message of Liberty to new generations of American Patriots.