“When the government encourages diverse expression — say, by creating a forum for debate — the First Amendment prevents it from discriminating against speakers based on their viewpoint,” wrote Breyer in that opinion. “The city’s lack of meaningful involvement in the selection of flags or the crafting of their messages leads us to classify the flag raisings as private, not government, speech — though nothing prevents Boston from changing its policies going forward.”
Camp Constitution and advocates for its case celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision, seeing it as a win for religious liberty.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to just gather together and celebrate freedom,” Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver told CBS News. “Because, really this is freedom for everyone. It’s not just freedom for Camp Constitution…It’s the freedom of speech for everyone to express their viewpoint without discrimination.”
Though the Christian flag flew above Boston City Hall on Wednesday, the city has implemented measures to ensure that it will not happen again in the future.
In accordance with allowances made by the Supreme Court’s ruling, the city of Boston has changed its standards so that the third flag pole will be covered under government speech rather than private expression.
Under the new ordinance, anyone seeking to fly a flag outside City Hall will need a proclamation from the mayor or a resolution from the City Council.