Posted at 9:58 a.m., Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Appeals court upholds aerial advertising ban
Associated PressA federal appeals court today upheld Honolulu's ban on aerial advertising, rejecting an appeal by anti-abortion advocates who said the rule restricted their free speech.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Honolulu law was a reasonable restriction on speech in a nonpublic forum.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform sued the city in 2003, saying it had a right to fly over Oahu 100-foot long banners displaying graphic images of aborted fetuses.
The organization has flown similar banners above heavily populated areas in other states to promote its pro-life, anti-abortion message.
But the court noted Honolulu has long restricted outdoor ads to protect Oahu's scenic beauty. The city banned aerial advertising in 1978.
The judges noted banner towing isn't a historically important form of communication or speech, adding there are other ways people can express themselves.
The decision affirms an August 2003 ruling by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken.