Las Vegas, Nevada — July 18, 2019. Center for Religious Expression (CRE) filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Las Vegas today, challenging unconstitutional city ordinances that ban CRE client David LaVelle from sharing an evangelistic message on the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall (FSE mall).
LaVelle wants to share a message of God’s love and forgiveness on the FSE mall, a premier gambling and nightlife district in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. As a world-renowned tourist attraction, the FSE mall is a very lively place, featuring numerous street performers, casinos, and a massive overhead video screen with surround sound. Las Vegas freely permits all of these features to use amplification to share their messages. But, when LaVelle used an amplifier to make his religious message audible nearby, Las Vegas police shut him down and issued him a criminal citation for using amplification at a volume audible 50 feet away.
CRE sent a letter on LaVelle’s behalf to Las Vegas officials, pointing out the inequity in banning LaVelle from using amplification audible 50 feet away while others are allowed to use amplification audible hundreds of feet away. The letter requested that Las Vegas allow LaVelle to use amplification at a reasonable volume. But instead, Las Vegas doubled down, informing that under a separate ordinance, LaVelle was prohibited from using amplification at any volume in the FSE mall. Left with no other recourse to secure his rights, LaVelle has filed a lawsuit in federal court.
“The right to speak is meaningless without the right to be heard,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “Las Vegas cannot silence evangelism where it allows other messages to be amplified.”