Summary Two billboards were covered up, yesterday, March 9, as the identity of the man responsible for them was revealed. These billboards angered the civic and gay rights leaders tremendously. Located in Staten Island, they condemned homosexuality by using verses from the Bible. The man responsible for this was Reverend Kristopher Okwedy of the Keyword Ministries in Staten Island. He paid $1,800 to post the two signs for one months time. These signs cited four translations of Leviticus 18:22. It read: Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination. These messages were covered up yesterday with McGruff the crime dog and Smokey the bear, when Guy V. Molinari, the Staten Island borough president denounced it, along with local gay leaders. Mr. Okwedys name had remained anonymous until yesterday, when the billboard company released it, with his permission of course. He felt that the company improperly censored him. In a statement he said: This is the land of the free, home of the brave. You are supposed to protect the rights of free speech. I paid money and did not violate any city laws. Donald Rosenthal, a lawyer for the union that owns the billboards, said that the signs were covered up because they did not disclose who paid for the messages. Mr. Okwerdy said, however, that he was never told that he had to put his name on them. He decided to remain anonymous, but would not have had a problem with revealing his name if asked. Daniel Master, legal counsel of Molinari, said that the message should not have been printed even with the name attached: A responsible member of the business community would not have printed this. Issue There are a couple of issues being discussed here. First of all, there is the issue of the first amendment. The first amendment gives the citizens of the United States the right to free speech. Does covering up the signs violate that right? Isn…
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