This election year, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission had its eye on much more than what's in your glass.

Last week, the ACLU of Michigan challenged a blatantly unconstitutional rule that banned bar and restaurant owners from posting signs in favor of political candidates or parties.  

What was the penalty for expressing their opinion in their own business? Anywhere from a $300 fine to the loss of their liquor license, which would practically shut their business down for good simply for displaying a sign.

Martin and Keith own the Aut Bar, a popular restaurant and bar in Ann Arbor. For 17 years, they've built a business that is a positive and affirming gathering place for the gay community.

People come to the bar not only to get a beer and a bite to eat, but also to have a place to network and share information on political decisions that impact their families. That's why they were shocked to find out their business could be endangered just because they wanted to post signs in favor of candidates in the upcoming November election.

Just like Martin says, "it’s absurd that we are not able to display political candidate signs and must remain silent on these important issues simply because we serve alcohol."

After all, regulations on one aspect of a business shouldn't be manipulated to bully and censor the political speech of their owners.

Today, we're happy to announce that after hearing from us, the Liquor Control Commission has decided to respect free speech and stop enforcing this rule to allow business owners like Martin and Keith to speak up in the 2 weeks leading up to the election. 

By Genevieve Scott, Cooperating Attorney

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