Kentucky Supreme Court to hear religious billboard case

UPTON (WAVE) - It may be the end of the road for a Kentucky man paying for religious billboards along Interstate 65. He's waiting to see if the Kentucky Supreme Court will rule in favor of his case or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Jimmy Harston paid for 8 billboards throughout the Commonwealth. Some of the messages include text like, "Hell is for real." Another displays five of the Ten Commandments.

For nearly a decade, the stark signs have been up there - just a few hundred yards from another business with a different message near Exit 76. The signs face the exit where an adult bookstore is located.

"The Lord put this on me to do several years ago," Harston said. "This is not anything that's backed by big organization or church or anything."

The legal fight started in 2008, when the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet filed a civil suit to force Harston to remove the billboards, according to the Associated Press.

He thinks it's a political move by Governor Steve Beshear's administration. "Those billboards were up for over four or five years and then when the administration was changed in Frankfort there, when the new governor came in they filed suit on me."

Harston argues he was told he didn't need a permit because the billboards are a ministry to the traveling public and do not advertise anything.

"It's on private property. It's not an advertising billboard for profit," he said.

The Associated Press reports judges at the circuit and appellate court levels have ruled in favor of the cabinet, but Harston persists.

Harston said the Kentucky Supreme Court has not set a hearing date, yet.

He's paid for eight billboards with religious messages throughout Kentucky. There's dozens more nationwide, but he said those states haven't opposed his billboards.

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