Vulgar word with Biden’s name on flag in Bay County draws complaints
People who voted for Biden also the target of the foul message
BAY COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - It can be offensive, but not illegal.
A flag is flying high in front of one Bay County home.
It features a vulgar word, followed by President Joe Biden’s last name.
Bay County law enforcement tells us, several people have complained about it.
While a school bus filled with children may drive by and see that bad word, it doesn’t matter. An attorney says the message is protected by the First Amendment.
“It sounds like this individual has a strong political belief about the current presidency,” says attorney Phil Ellison.
That strong political belief is flying high on a flag pole in front of a home in Fraser Township in northern Bay County.
The flag has the f-word and Biden on it, referring to President Biden.
Bay County Sheriff Troy Cunningham has received the complaints, but after talking to township officials and the county prosecutor, he believes there is little government can do to force the flag to be taken down.
“The First Amendment provides that the right of individuals to speak or to communicate cannot be abridged by the government, except in very limited certain circumstances,” says Ellison.
He says the government can step in when it comes to free speech, like threatening to kill someone, or yelling fire in a crowded theater, but messages on signs or flags, are something different.
“Yes, a government can regulate for example the size of a sign, as long as they treat everyone the same, but they can’t regulate on the basis of the content of the message itself,” Ellison says.
He says even if there was a local or state ordinance preventing language like this on a sign, Ellison says it wouldn’t stand up in court.
“They can have the ordinance, but that ordinance would be declared unconstitutional under the First Amendment,” he says.
The flag also has a similar message in smaller letters to those who voted for President Biden. We could not reach the person who is flying that flag for comment for this story.
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