A dispute over free speech and equal rights this Christmas season has led to two dueling and completely different signs on the Shelton town green.
The one sign on the town questions Christmas and God. That sign’s language is not sitting well with plenty of people in town.
The sign in question celebrates the winter solstice and said let reason prevail.
A resident wanted to put it up last year, but the city said no. That man sued the town and this year they allowed it. But, they also put up one right next door.
"We'd like an agreement, they'll continue to honor freedom of speech,” Jerry Bloom, who helped get the sign on the town green, said.
Drivers let Bloom, know what they think of his sign. With help from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, its reads “there are no gods, no devils, no angels, religion is but myth and superstition.”
"It's the Winter Solstice and a lot of people, they associate this time of year of Christmas of course," Bloom said.
People such as Shelton resident Carol Tommassetti are against the sign.
"Christmas is about the birth of Christ,” Tomassetti said. “If you don't want to believe it, don't believe it, but you don't have to promote the fact that there is no God, because a lot of people do believe."
Bloom said he first wanted to put the sign up last year at a different park. The city said no, so he sued. This year, he was allowed like others to take out a permit and put up a sign on the corner of the Huntington Green.
The Huntington Green is a highly visible intersection that's decorated with Christmas trees and even a nativity scene.
"You've permitted viewpoints to be expressed in this public forum, you cannot deny me the same right, they did,” Bloom said. “That's censorship, first amendment violation, freedom of speech."
"I don't find anything egregious with what they have on the sign,” Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti said. “I can't say I subscribe to that thinking or belief, but in America, we're allowed to express our views."
It’s why Lauretti, also had another sign put up right next to Bloom's. Lauretti said the two signs “create balance.”
“Our sign policy largely served non-profits, fundraisers, benefits, things of that nature, not necessarily reflecting anyone's philosophical views on life,” Lauretti said.
Bloom said he is hoping to make his sign a yearly display. He also reacted to the mayor putting up another sign right up next to his.
"I thought that's cute. I mean, I have no problem with it,” Bloom said. “[I] didn't expect it, but good for him."
City rules allow the signs to be up for two weeks and Bloom’s one will be coming down this weekend.
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