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Protected language, but polite? - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Protected language, but polite?

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Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014 1:00 am

GALVESTON — A hand-painted sign in a Galveston front yard that used a curse word to decry the Affordable Care Act led to at least one neighbor’s complaint, but the language is protected by the First Amendment and not in violation of city policy, an official said.

The sign, which has since been taken down, was posted in front of a home in the 1300 block of 37th Street.

It referred to a now infamous quote from President Barack Obama and read, “If you like your insurance, you can keep it,” before using a curse word “bull----” to cast doubt on that statement’s veracity. 

“First Amendment” was written in blue paint at the bottom of the sign.

Larry Konzelman, who lives near the home where the sign was posted, said he did not take issue with people using signs to express their views on their own property, but was concerned that children walking by may see the curse word. 

The home is within several blocks of Morgan Elementary School.

Konzelman said he called the city about the language on the sign.

“It’s not that people haven’t heard the word, but I don’t want children walking by to have to see that,” he said.

The sign has since been changed, and the new one does not use any inappropriate language to make its political point, Konzelman said.

Elizabeth Rogers, a spokeswoman for the city, said she was not aware of any complaints about the old sign.

First Amendment rights protect such expression, and there is no city ordinance prohibiting language posted on an individual’s private property, she said.