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June 20, 2016

Woodhull Files Amicus Brief In Sexual Discrimination Case

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today the Woodhull Freedom Foundation filed an amicus brief at the United States Supreme Court, supporting a petition for review by Dave Mech. Woodhull joins the First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA) and the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) in the brief. Dave Mech, who formerly acted in adult films as "Dave Pounder," seeks to have the U.S. Supreme Court decide whether he has been illegally discriminated against in his attempt to hang banners advertising his math tutoring business, "Happy/Fun Math Tutor," on schoolyard fences in Palm Beach County, Florida. Mech has several degrees in both math and teaching. The banners had been displayed for some time and there were no issues with Mech’s tutoring. In fact, there was nothing about the banners that raised concerns. It was, instead, that one parent discovered that "Dave Pounder Productions" used the same mailing address as "Happy/Fun Math Tutor"—and using the now-well-established (if unwritten) doctrine of "porn cooties," anything that's in the vicinity of, or in any way connected to, an adult performer or production company is seen as having been contaminated by that proximity. To be clear, no one has claimed that children being tutored by Mech saw any adult material, or even knew of his connection to adult. Mech's claim was denied last month by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that messages which appear on schoolyard fences are "government speech," despite the fact that advertisers actually pay (or donate cash) to have their banners displayed on the fences. "When the government exercises 'the right to "speak for itself," it can freely 'select the views that it wants to express,'" wrote the Eleventh Circuit panel which included ultra-conservative William Pryor. One of the "views" that the school board elected to "express" to middle school kids was for a local tavern, Miller's Ale House. Woodhull is represented in this case by First Amendment Attorney, Gary Edinger; the principal author of the brief. Woodhull’s General Counsel, Lawrence G. Walters (along with attorney Jim Green) represents Mech in the case. The question posed to the Supreme Court is, "Whether the Eleventh Circuit improperly expanded the 'government speech' exception to the First Amendment to include circumstances where the government was not itself a 'speaker' but had clearly discriminated against private speech on the basis of content." Read more about the case and the brief here. Ricci Levy, Woodhull’s President and CEO, observed, “Mech appears to be an obvious target of discrimination based on his involvement in the adult industry.”  “Woodhull is proud to join with the First Amendment Lawyers Association and the Free Speech Coalition in urging the Court to consider this important case involving the right to sexual expression,” Levy added.

 
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