UPDATE:: Please tell me exactly what year and century are we in!! I give Justin a huge round of applause for sticking to his guns on this debacle. As Hemant Mehta notes, "It’s disappointing atheists have to jump through this many hoops to get the same sort of treatment religious people get automatically, but I’m glad the fight will continue."__
COLTS’ motion to dismiss lawsuit is denied
Yesterday, United States District Judge Malachy E. Mannion denied COLTS’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Consider viewing the relevant documents below.
County of Lackawanna Transit System officials gave conflicting reasons why they rejected an ad from an atheist group, raising the specter that their actions were a cover-up for discriminatory practices, an attorney for the group says in court papers.
The Northeastern Freethought Society also has evidence that COLTS displayed “God Bless America” on its electronic bus signs at some point and that it only altered its policy regarding religious ads after the group sought to advertise, said attorney Monica Clarke Platt of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The arguments are among several Platt raises in response to a motion COLTS filed in June that seeks to dismiss a federal lawsuit the group filed against the agency. The lawsuit, filed in April, alleges COLTS violated the Freethought Society’s First Amendment right to free speech when it rejected several ads that included the word “atheist.”
In the motion to dismiss, William McPartland, attorney for COLTS, argued space on the agency’s buses and other property is a limited public forum, which gives it the right to restrict ads as long as its policy is “viewpoint neutral.”
Platt contends COLTS has not met the legal standard to qualify as a limited public forum. Even if it did, the society has evidence that COLTS accepted ads from several churches, which clearly shows its policy is not viewpoint neutral, she said. Hemant Mehta also writes about newest development and recaps the history:
Atheists Ask Judge Not to Dismiss Lawsuit Involving Banned (and Completely Inoffensive) Bus Ad