Thursday, April 14, 2016

Court OK's Distribution of Gospel Tracts At Motorcycle Rally

In McMahon v. City of Panama City Beach, Florida, (ND FL, April 12, 2016), a Florida federal district court issued a preliminary injunction to allow plaintiff to hand out Christian Gospel tracts at the Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally event held at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach. The court concluded that the city cannot rid the park of its "public forum" status by issuing a private party a permit to for exclusive use of the Festival Site in the park for an event, explaining:
If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck..... Thunder Beach, a large gathering of people interested in motorcycles, though organized by a private corporation, is free and open to the public and has no barriers limiting or restricting ingress and egress.... Thunder Beach looks like a public forum, and so is a public forum, and McMahon retains the rights to free speech that he would possess in any public forum.