Press Release

Supreme Court Hands Big Win to Small Church Arizona town’s biased sign rules struck down

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Washington, D.C. – Today the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that is a major victory for religious speech and for houses of worship across the country.

Moments ago, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling protecting the Good News Community Church and Pastor Clyde Reed from the town of Gilbert, Arizona’s unfair sign ordinance, which allowed large political sidewalk signs to be displayed for months but restricted houses of worship to tiny signs that could only be displayed for less than 14 hours. The Justices voted 9-0 to strike down Gilbert’s sign ordinance.

“Gilbert had taken a page from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, saying that all citizens were equal, but that politicians were ‘more equal’ than everyone else,”said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel at Becket. “The Supreme Court rightly decided that churches and other religious speakers should not be treated like second-class citizens.”

Small houses of worship such as Good News Community Church rely on signs to invite community members to their services because they often do not have a permanent meeting location and have limited means to share their message.

In Gilbert, the controversial sign regulations struck down today allowed large political signs to stand for months, but demanded that houses of worship, like Good News Community Church, use signs less than half that size and pull them down after only fourteen hours. Church or synagogue signs could be no larger than 6 square feet – about 81% smaller than political signs (32 sq. ft).

Alliance Defending Freedom represents Good News Community Church and Pastor Clyde Reed from this unfair ordinance. In September 2014, Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief in this case. Becket attorneys are available now to comment on the case and the Supreme Court’s decision.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at or 202.349.7224.


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. For over 20 years, it has defended clients of all faiths, including  Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians.Its recent cases include three major Supreme Court victories: the landmark ruling in  Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and the 9-0 rulings in  Holt v. Hobbs  and  Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the latter of which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”