Anchorage, Alaska — December 3, 2018. Today, the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) secured a judgment eliminating an Anchorage policy that banished David Grisham and Tina Watson from peacefully sharing their faith in a public park during the Girdwood Forest Fair.
On July 8, 2017, Grisham and Watson peacefully passed out Christian literature and spoke with people at the popular and free Girdwood Forest Fair event in Alaska. They didn’t cause any problems. Yet, the Fair’s security stopped them, claiming they were violating a Fair Rule that specifically banned religious speech. The security called the police, who backed up the Fair, warning that Grisham and Watson would be arrested if they did not leave the park immediately. Virtually any other topic could be discussed in the public park, but Grisham’s and Watson’s evangelism was considered a crime.
Grisham and Watson wanted to return the following year, so they tried to resolve the problem by sending a letter, through counsel to Anchorage officials, pointing out their constitutional right to share their faith in public parks during free public events. But Anchorage disagreed, assuring that it would continue to ban them from the park during future Girdwood Forest Fairs. CRE, along with Anchorage co-counsel, filed a lawsuit on their behalf to secure their First Amendment rights. And, after CRE won a preliminary injunction against Anchorage, the municipality consented to a judgment enjoining its patently unconstitutional policy.
“The court order ensures that Grisham and Watson maintain their right to share their faith at events free and open to the public,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “Finally, Grisham and Watson have freedom at the Girdwood Forest Fair.”
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.