DC Now Faces First Amendment Lawsuit

DC Now Faces First Amendment Lawsuit

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative organization, has filed a lawsuit against Washington, D.C., for a violation of the First Amendment.

After the city refused to grant permission for students to paint a pro-life message on a city street, but allowed a ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural to be painted in another part of the city, the Alliance Defending Freedom has decided to sue.

The lawsuit accuses the District of Columbia of violating the First Amendment, after two students were arrested for writing “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” on a public sidewalk. The pro-life group behind the painting argued that the painting of BLM on the street “opened up the streets of Washington, D.C. for public expression.”

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Alliance Defending Freedom has alleged in the lawsuit that the Students for Life received formal permission to host their rally, but was denied permission to paint their mural on a city street. Verbal permission was later given to them to paint the message by a Metropolitan Police Department officer.

“Students for Life of America applied for a permit and received permission to hold a rally, but neither group received a formal response from the city regarding the painted mural. A Metropolitan Police Department officer gave verbal permission for members of the groups to paint the message in the street with tempera paint,” the lawsuit alleges.

Alaina Gertz, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department, argues that the group never received a permit to paint their mural.

A summary of the lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom states that the city “cannot pick and choose which expression can be written on public property,” and states that other groups were not punished for painting messages on city streets.

“The Constitution guarantees the right to peacefully express our views in the public square. If there is disagreement over contentious issues, the answer is always more speech, not censorship, fines, or jail time,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

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