Troy, Ohio − The Center for Religious Expression (CRE), on behalf of Bryan Kemper, sent a letter today to city officials in Troy requesting relief from an ordinance that bans Kemper and others from chalking on public ways in downtown Troy during the annual Strawberry Festival.
Kemper likes to use chalk on public ways to share Christian-oriented and pro-life messages such as “abortion stops a beating heart,” but last February, the Troy City Council passed an ordinance banning chalking during the Strawberry Festival, apparently, in an effort to keep Kemper from expressing his views during the event. Though Troy allows permanent markings, including painted strawberries and painted numbers for the designation of booths at the festival in those same public areas, Kemper is subject to criminal charges for temporary chalking.
“A well-known constitutional principle,” states Chief Counsel for CRE, Nate Kellum, “is that we are free to talk where we are free to walk. In those places, we should also be free to chalk.”
Because Kemper retains a strong desire to share his views through chalking he is seeking relief before next year’s festival. The letter requests a written response within two weeks.