Free Speech Press Release

03.30.16

Public Has Right to Protest Outside Progressive Field on Opening Day, Says ACLU

Free Speech

CLEVELAND—The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sent a letter today to Cleveland city officials reminding them that the sidewalks surrounding Gateway Sports Complex, which includes Progressive Field, are a public forum.

“The right to assemble on a public sidewalk is critical to a functioning democracy—even when the team or fans in the stadium near that sidewalk don’t agree with the message of those assembled,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio. “We are hopeful that the city of Cleveland respects court precedent and refrains from restricting individuals’ constitutional right to protest on Gateway Complex sidewalks.”

Read the letter to Cleveland officials.

Read about United Church of Christ v. Gateway Economic Development Corp. of Greater Cleveland.

In 2006, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held in an historic ACLU of Ohio case, United Church of Christ v. Gateway Economic Development Corp. of Greater Cleveland, that sidewalks around the complex are an open public forum. This means that demonstrators have a right to assemble there, and government cannot restrict demonstrators’ activity based on the content of their speech.

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