Cortman says the town’s sign code is a form of discrimination that allows the government to decide what speech is more valuable and thus granted greater protection under the First Amendment.
Reed must adhere to Gilbert’s sign regulations, which the town says were designed to promote “optimum conditions for serving sign owners’ needs and respecting their rights to identification while balancing the aesthetic interests of the community.”
Under the town’s sign code, residents can post an unlimited number of political signs up to 32 square feet in size. Signs with ideological messages can be up to 20 square feet, displayed indefinitely and unlimited in number.
The church’s signs, along with signs for other non-profit, event-related activities can be only six square feet in size, displayed for no more than 14 hours and are limited to four per property.
The town says it intended these restrictions to provide churches and other non-profits with a reasonable window to direct the community to and from their events.
But for Reed, the limitations mean he can’t begin advertising a 10 a.m. service until 8 p.m. the night before. By then, it’s dark, and the chances of residents seeing his signs are slim.