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American Family Association (AFA) Wins Another One!


 American Family Association (AFA) Wins Another One!

The old saying goes, "The wheels of justice move exceedingly slow and grind exceedingly fine." Ordinarily when we Christians are found living out our faith in the streets, and are thrown in jail, the court system generally grinds us into pixie dust. Not this time!

Through the perseverance of Bryan Brown, lead attorney for AFA, God gave us two new court victories in Florida. Matt Bowman, Seth Spangle, and I (Flip) were arrested for handing out Gospel literature at Disney's "tragic kingdom" in Orlando, Florida. It was specifically geared to liberate those enslaved in homosexual sin by the power of the blood of Christ.

Here is AFA's Press Release.

American Family Association
                Center for Law and Policy

P.O. Drawer 2440

Tupelo, Mississippi 38803

January 7, 2003
Bryan J. Brown, Litigation Counsel


TUPELO, MS- On January 3, 2003, the Honorable Judge John Antoon II of the federal court for the Middle District of Florida struck down Florida statutes 316.2045 and 316.2055. Judge Antoon adopted in toto the thorough and well reasoned opinion by federal magistrate judge James G. Glazebrook that recommended these free speech restricting statutes be stricken from Florida's body of laws. (The case is Bischoff v. Florida, 6:98-cv-583-ORL-28C.)

      Pro-life activists Vicki Stites and Cheryl Bischoff challenged the two now-stricken statutes in 1998, after being threatened with arrest while distributing literature critical of the Disney Corporation on traffic islands down the road from the Magic Kingdom. The literature informed Disney's customers of the corporation's dedication to the advancement of the homosexual agenda. Operation Save America's Flip Benham, Seth Marschke Spangler and Matt Bowman were arrested and jailed under Florida statutes 316.2045 and 316.2055 while Bischoff and Stites looked on. When irate sheriffs' deputies warned Bischoff, Stites and all others that they would be similarly arrested if the literature distribution did not cease, Bischoff and Stites abandoned the traffic islands and fled to federal court, with the aid of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.

      Bryan J. Brown, Senior Litigation Counsel with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy noted that, "The stricken statutes criminalized literature distribution along sidewalks and streets with broad brush strokes, while granting political campaigners copious exemptions. Read together, they were nonsensical, and, as the facts of this case demonstrate, employed to shut down speech which offended the government or powerful corporate interests."

        Federal Judge G. Kendall Sharp dismissed Stites and Bischoff's constitutional challenge soon after it was filed. An appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals followed, in which Stites and Bischoff eventually won a remand. Ironically, while the case was winding its way through the federal courts, protestor Matt Bowman attended Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a law student summer intern with the CLP, Bowman aided Brown in resurrecting the case after remand. Bowman, who Brown labeled a "very capable litigator-to-be," will graduate from Ave Maria in 2003, thereafter to clerk for a federal judge.

      "Statute 316.2045" noted attorney Brown, "has recently been used to frustrate pro-life counseling efforts outside an abortion clinic in West Palm Beach." "This ruling,"stated Stephen M. Crampton, Chief Counsel of the Center for Law & Policy "takes this tool for censorship out of the hands of wanna-be censors, allowing even unpopular speech its rightful place on Florida's highways and byways, be that at Disney's gates or on the sidewalks surrounding abortion clinics."

      The AFA Center for Law & Policy is the legal arm of the American Family Association, Inc., located in Tupelo, Mississippi. The Center restricts its practice to constitutional litigation in state and federal courts.