Guest Article by Laurel Spencer
If you don’t have something nice to say, you’d better be prepared to face the consequences. That’s what happened to Jacque Farnsworth when two armed policemen escorted her out of a city hall meeting after expressing views that were less than supportive about the new casino to be built in Mulvane, Kansas.
After stating that the casino would prove a poor decision for the local economy, the Wellington Daily News reports Mulvane Mayor Jim Ford called Farnsworth’s comments out of order, and, after a brief argument, had her escorted from the premises.
Farnsworth was not the only one whose opinion was silenced; apparently anyone who cared to voice any opposition to the casino was called out of order, even when a City Council Member expressed his desire to hear their concerns. Those who were in support of the casino, however, were permitted to express their excitement over the proposition. These actions, along with her removal from the building, caused Farnsworth to file a lawsuit against the city of Mulvane and her Mayor for violating what Farnsworth calls her Constitutional right of free speech. The lawsuit states,
None of those individuals expressing the view that the casino would be good for the community required a City Council member to speak up for them before they were allowed to continue speaking. Defendants’ policy and practice of censoring speech based on content and viewpoint violated, and is violating, clearly established law.
One of her attorneys, Kevin Theoriot of the Alliance Defense Fund, said,
The city council seemed to deliberately want to silence any sincere objections to the location of a casino in this small town.
This attempt to present casinos as a boom to small towns and a help to the economy ignores the heinous consequences that so often come about as a result of this money-hungry institution and proves a blatant infringement of our right to free speech. If casinos are indeed such a help to mankind and to the economy, why cannot one of the thousands of casinos around the world prove by their example that this so? No amount of censoring will be able to change the fact that casinos are no good for the well-being of anyone…unless, of course, you run a casino.