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Middletown Banned from Banning Religious Expression

Middletown, Ohio — June 8, 2014. Today, the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) secured another victory for religious freedom.

The United States District Court of Ohio ruled in favor of John Williams against City of Middletown, assuring Williams of his right to share his Christian faith on accessible, public ways in Middletown during a public festival known as the Broad Street Bash, effectively ending the City’s ban on religious expression. The Court’s Order − agreed to by the parties − declares that Williams “was unconstitutionally banned from engaging in religious speech on public streets and ways”, granting Williams nominal damages and permanently enjoining Middletown from “unlawfully prohibit[ing] or interfere[ing] with the constitutionally-protected expression of John Williams or other third-party speakers on public streets and ways in downtown Middletown, Ohio during Broad Street Bash events.”

The Broad Street Bash takes place annually in downtown Middletown, Ohio, in a public park and on public streets. Though the Bash is free and open to the public, police officers for the City of Middletown had forced Williams to stop sharing his faith in the public area under the threat of criminal arrest.

“This case represents an important victory for religious expression,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “It affirms the fundamental right we all have to share our convictions and beliefs with others in public.”

The judgment is effective immediately and will allow Williams and others to share their beliefs at this year’s Broad Street Bash.

Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.

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