Court Allows Protesters To Sue Columbus

November 7, 2007

Source: The Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Three men who sought permits to burn ceremonial items in public, including the rainbow-colored flag of the gay rights movement, can continue with a lawsuit against the city of Columbus, a federal appeals court ruled. The plaintiffs include Charles Spingola and Thomas Meyer, who were convicted in Franklin County Environmental Court and fined $100 each for the misdemeanor charge of open burning without a permit. They were arrested in 2001 in violation of their First Amendment right to free speech because city officials are hostile to people who may offend the gay community, the plaintiffs argued.