Last modified: 2003-07-12 by rick wyatt
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From the Miami Herald:
Town changes rules to allow Confederate flag
LEXINGTON, S.C. -- (AP) -- Maurice Bessinger is free to fly the Confederate flag over his restaurant here without fear of violating a town ordinance.
Lexington Town Council voted Tuesday to change its outdoor sign restrictions so businesses can fly the Confederate flag and up to two more banners. The change had been given preliminary approval last month after Bessinger, who owns the Piggie Park chain of barbecue restaurants, complained when he was fined for flying the Confederate flag. Town officials had imposed $1,000 in fines after Bessinger removed the American flag and replaced it with the Confederate and state banners.
The original ordinance allowed businesses to fly the United States, state and municipal flags. Additional banners could be flown if businesses paid a fee, which Bessinger refused to do, saying the ordinance violated his free speech rights.
Lexington Mayor Dan Breazeale said the changes are ``something that may be a little bit hard for us to swallow ... It gives me a great deal of pain to see someone take down the American flag and put something else in its place.''
Council members backed off plans to recommend that Bessinger be relieved of the fines for violating the previous controls. That decision will be left up to municipal court officials, Breazeale said.