Des Moines, Iowa — June 17, 2014. Jason Powell filed a Complaint today against various fair and state officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa challenging fair policy that bans him from sharing his Christian beliefs outside the gates of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa. Powell is represented by the Center for Religious Expression (CRE).
During last year’s fair, Powell was forced to stop his expressive activity on August 16, 2013, under the threat of criminal trespassing, because state fair officials did not like his message. Powell attempted to resolve the matter last December when Chief Counsel of CRE, Nate Kellum, wrote the Iowa Attorney General seeking assurance of Powell’s freedom to speak. Because the plea was ignored, the lawsuit was filed.
In his lawsuit in federal court, Powell seeks relief so he can express his Christian message during this year’s fair and future fairs. “Powell wants to stand on sidewalks and share his Christian views without the fear of being arrested,” Kellum explained. “The freedom to express ideas on public ways is an inalienable right.”