Gary Formhals had been with the Washington State Park system for more than 10 years – as a volunteer and then as a part time employee.
A few years ago, the Navy veteran received the “Award for Excellence.”
So needless to say he was a bit surprised when he got fired.
Earlier this year a visitor noticed the Trump bumper stickers in Gary’s private vehicle. She complained that the bumper stickers were “insurrectionalist.”
So park officials gave Gary an ultimatum – either remove the bumper stickers or lose your job.
Gary chose Trump.
The American Center for Law and Justice filed a lawsuit against the Park system. And not long after that – the Park system had a change of heart.
“As we explained previously, under the old policy, a Park employee couldn’t even engage in normal chitchat with Park visitors for fear that it would violate the prohibition on all ‘personal opinions, messages or points of view. Statements like ‘It’s a beautiful day,’ ‘I love the Seattle Mariners,’ or ‘It’s right for the government to support public parks’ were all forbidden,” ACLJ said in a statement.
What the Park system did was a violation of the Constitution.
The First Amendment does not allow government officials to censor the speech of their employees.
And thanks to Gary – other staffers will have their First Amendment rights protected.
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