A Texas court judge ruled today that signs displayed by high school cheerleaders quoting biblical verses were “constitutionally permissible,” and that the Kountze High School cheerleaders could continue to display them at the school’s football games.
The high school cheerleaders had sued the Kountze Independent School District after after they were told they could no longer display the banners with religious messages over arguments that it violated the First Amendment. Earlier in the school year, one unidentified spectator had complained to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group argued that the banners amounted to a public school’s advocating a particular religion, which was unconstitutional.
The cheerleaders contention was that these banners were student led and initiated and so private speech. Attorneys for the cheerleaders argued the girls’ First Amendment rights to free speech were being violated by the school district and that the messages on the banners were not asking anyone to believe in Christianity or accept the faith.
In his ruling, State District Judge Steve Thomas said that no law “prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events and that the banners did not create an establishment of religion in the school.
Gov. Rick Perry offered a statement on the ruling: Today’s ruling is a win for free speech and religious freedom. The Kountze High School cheerleaders showed great resolve and maturity beyond their years in standing up for their beliefs and constitutional rights. I’m proud of them and I celebrate this victory alongside them.
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