The American Civil Liberties Union has insisted on the right of political candidates of all kinds to walk in the Dublin Ohio St.Patrick’s Day parade.
Candidates for local office — and even presidential hopefuls — will now be able to walk in the parade.
The ruling could affect who is allowed to walk in other parades across the country.
Dublin received a letter from the ACLU alleging that the city’s parade policy regarding candidates for public office was “unconstitutional.”
“I am referring to the policy which prohibits candidates for public office from campaigning, using the words ‘elect’ or ‘vote for’ and passing out literature or any printed material during the city’s upcoming Fourth of July parade,” ACLU Ohio legal director James Hardiman wrote.
“It is my understanding that while sitting public officials are permitted to display their names and currently held positions, non-incumbents are prohibited from identifying who they are and the offices to which they are seeking election.”
Political candidates were allowed to take part in Dublin parades until October 2008, wbut the policy was changed for the annual St. Patrick’s Day and Fourth of July parades.
“The guidelines were intended to enhance the entertainment value of parade units and shorten the length of parades for the enjoyment of spectators,” City officials said.
Now the parade policy includes “any person or group that desires to enter a parade unit in a city of Dublin parade” free of charge.
ACLU's Hardiman “indicated that the new rules appear to address their previously expressed concerns about the policy regarding political candidates.”