By Timothy Hecker
During the latest session the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, No. 13-502, which limits on signs specifically targeted at religious services was unconstitutional. The signs were limited by an ordinance as follows: Political signs, concerning candidates and elections, were permitted to be as large as 32 square feet, were allowed to stay in place for months and were generally unlimited in number. Ideological signs, about issues more generally, were not permitted to be larger than 20 square feet, could stay in place indefinitely and were unlimited in number. Signs announcing church services and similar events were limited to six square feet, could be displayed only just before and after an event, and were limited to four per property as reported by the New York Times. The decision lands in the favor of religion and free speech which places an interesting irony on what has been a major talking point about how Obergefell v. Hodges, (link to result summary) has been talked about in the media and people ignoring the decision have been treated. As with the controversial religious freedom laws in Indiana and Arkansas, many people have discussed the point that with gay rights becoming prevalent that those who are asking to refuse service are not being given religious freedom to do so, and every year when local communities complain about nativity scenes or lack thereof that the “war on Christmas” or “war on faith” is being started. However, decisions like this one often reaffirm the point that religion is not under attack. Decisions like Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores and Holt v. Hobbs (links to result summaries) both supported religion in the verdict as well. The point is that religion is not under attack, it is still the most important institution in the country by far and the only right being removed is the right to discrimination. Whether that be about loving god or loving a human regardless of gender.