VAN BUREN, Ark. – The City of Van Buren and Mayor Joe Hurst are being sued for allegedly violating the First Amendment free speech rights of Sons of the Southern Cross and its president James Bible.
The suit filed on Friday came from the city banning a float submitted in the Van Buren Christmas Parade because it displayed a confederate flag. The float was excluded at the direction of Van Buren Mayor Joe Hurst.
Sons of the Southern Cross is a confederate heritage association.
“In today’s environment, there is probably nothing more controversial than the Confederate Flag, It stirs powerful emotions of those on both sides of the issue,” Fort Smith Attorney Joey McCutchen, who represents the plaintiffs, said. “A government official does not have the right to tell any American what they can think, say, write, or display unless it is falls within very limited exceptions. The Courts have clearly said that flags are symbolic speech.”
Mayor Hurst has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
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