Editorials

Get off my lawn. Get your regulating hands off my sign.

Glen Carbon sign ordinance raises free speech concerns

A Glen Carbon sign ordinance has raised concerns about free speech among residents who were told to take the signs down within 90 days.
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A Glen Carbon sign ordinance has raised concerns about free speech among residents who were told to take the signs down within 90 days.

Sherry Turpenoff just wanted to put a sign in her yard to say “Hate has no home here,” but Glen Carbon decided for her that free speech has only a temporary home in her yard.

She got a sticker on her sign saying she has until Oct. 9 to remove the sign.

Glen Carbon rewrote its sign ordinance to avoid restricting protected speech, but it doesn’t look like they were very successful. It’s unclear why they thought a time limit mattered when they were trying to regulate political speech or religious speech or any other speech protected by the First Amendment.

No one wants a yard sign for Betty’s Landscaping or WeBuyUglyHouses.com or any other commercial enterprise up for years, or sprouting like weeds among the weeds on the roadside. Those should be the target of municipal ordinances.

But to tell Turpenhoff what she can say, and for how long, about hate or God or Trump or the mayor is just unconstitutional. To tell her not to say it from her own home is ethically reprehensible.

Keep your stickers to yourself, Glen Carbon. Fix the ordinance, and stay off our lawns.

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