Federal court rules for Ohio festival free speech

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A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of two Christians who say their free speech rights were violated at a southwest Ohio corn festival.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel ruled unanimously Monday that a policy against solicitation at the annual Sweet Corn Festival was too broad, and unconstitutional. The panel reversed a federal judge's ruling.

The case stemmed from the summer 2009 festival in the Dayton suburb of Fairborn, Ohio. Plaintiffs Tracy Bays and Kerrigan Skelly planned to convey their religious beliefs among festival-goers, and Bays began walking through the park with a sandwich board sign with Christian messages. After encountering opposition from a festival worker and officials, they left.

They sued in 2010. The Christian legal aid group Alliance Defense Fund argued their appeal.

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