MUNCIE, Ind. – Do you have the right to fly the American flag wherever you like?
Not if you’re living at a campground operated by the city of Muncie, Ind. (search), where the mayor has issued an executive order, effective immediately, requiring the removal of all flags at the Prairie Creek Reservoir (search) campsite.
That order supercedes a decision originally made by Mayor Dan Canan to prohibit all flags at Prairie Creek besides the American and POW/MIA flags.
Canan said he made the decision to clean up the look of the campground, and that Confederate flags, NASCAR flags and liquor banners had created an atmosphere of visual clutter.
But on Tuesday morning, Canan issued a letter to campers saying he regrets his decision to ban the American and POW/MIA flags and apologized for any inconvenience or stress the issue has caused. Men and women have fought and died for the American flag, he stated, and stressed that his decision was wrong. The other flags are still banned, however.
After the original flag ban went into effect, a handful of campers sued the mayor, arguing that their right to free speech had been muzzled, and that the city couldn’t permit some flags to fly and ban others.
Canan said rather than fight that suit, he decided it was better to try and avoid a costly legal battle and ban all flags at the campground.
Those who filed the suit against Canan are still going forward with their case, but the focus of the litigation has changed.
The attorney representing the plaintiffs said the campground is not the kind of public space where government is entitled to ban speech, and that the Constitution suggests that the U.S. flag and all other flags are legal to fly on public property.
Go to the video link at the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Jeff Goldblatt.