PENSACOLA — The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida has officially declared that the policy prohibiting literature distribution on the public sidewalk near Seville Square during the annual Festival in the Park is unconstitutional and granted a summary judgment in the case in favor of Pastor Bill Adams.
“The Court has wisely ruled that the constitution still protects religious speech.” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “We are so pleased that Pastor Bill Adams and other Pensacola citizens will no longer fear arrest for sharing their faith.”
At last year’s PrideFest, Pastor Adams and several members of his congregation attempted to hand out free calendars containing a salvation message on the back. PrideFest is a homosexual-themed event that is free and open to the public. Organizers of the event called the City of Pensacola Police, who instructed Pastor Adams to leave the sidewalk bordering the park or face arrest.
The court had previously granted a motion for preliminary injunction requested by the Center for Religious Expression and banned the City of Pensacola from restricting Pastor Adams’ First Amendment right to distribute religious literature on the public sidewalk or during any other public festivals taking place in Seville Square.
“Sidewalks are the public spaces of America’s cities and towns.” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “All citizens have the right to share their message on the sidewalk, even if that message is religious.”