Judge orders Fayetteville to allow distribution of religious tracts at festivals
Posted August 8, 2014
Fayetteville, N.C. — A federal judge on Thursday ordered Fayetteville to allow two men to hand out religious pamphlets on city streets during the Dogwood Festival and other local events.
Tom Price and William Legg sued the city last year after police officers stopped them from distributing evangelistic literature during the Dogwood Festival and Independence Day concert downtown.
U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan issued a permanent injunction against Fayetteville interfering with the men's activities at street festivals and ordered the city to pay Price and Legg $1 each in nominal damages.
“Price and Legg only want to hand out gospel tracts, while standing off to the side, so as not to get in anyone’s way. Leafleting is a vital means of communication for them, critical to the gospel message they want to convey,” Nate Kellum, chief counsel with the Center for Religious Expression, which represented the men in the lawsuit, said in a statement.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the freedom to leaflet in public areas. We’re thankful for this judgment that acknowledges this fundamental right," Kellum said.
Fayetteville officials didn't respond to a request for comment.