November 28, 2012
Liberty Counsel Files Free Speech Discrimination Suit Against Illinois Community Room
Chicago, IL – Today, Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the Village of Plainfield for violating First Amendment rights. In addition to the First Amendment, the Village’s Community Room Policy also violates the Establishment Clause, Equal Protection and the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Liberty Counsel applied to rent the community room at The Plainfield Village Hall in Plainfield, Illinois, to educate citizens on the Founding Era and Founding Fathers. The presentation would also include a perspective from a Christian viewpoint. Although the policy of the Village is to make community rooms in the Village Hall available for “educational, cultural, civic, and informational events of organizations located outside of the Village’s immediate boundaries,” Liberty Counsel was denied because the policy prohibits any use for “religious services or other religious purposes.”
The Village’s agent, Deann Snodgrass, said that although the Village allows nonprofit educational groups to use community rooms, religious groups are not welcomed. The Village even forbids weddings because something religious might be said, the agent pointed out. Furthermore, Ms. Snodgrass advised that the Village would approve an educational program regarding the Founding of America, but only if it was completely secular and did not contain any reference to God or any other religious elements or discussion.
“The Village expressly discriminates against religious speech and viewpoints,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. 17. “Whether it is the result of ignorance, religious hostility, or bigotry, religious viewpoint discrimination is unconstitutional.”
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
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