Library found to have engaged in unconstitutional discrimination

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 14, 2008
CONTACT:   David Miller at (513) 733-5775
David Langdon, Esq. at (513) 733-1038

Library found to have engaged in unconstitutional discrimination
Group’s suit stops library from denying use of meeting room

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Apparently the old adage to never discuss politics or religion in public was more than just good etiquette in a Columbus-area library. Patrons were told they could talk about anything else. But these two were sacrosanct and part of the “thou shalt nots” if you wanted to use the library meeting room.

Today, a federal judge took issue with that policy and agreed with a conservative public policy group who got bounced when they wanted to host a public meeting called “Politics and the Pulpit.” U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith permanently enjoined The Upper Arlington Public Library of Trustees from excluding activities in its library meeting rooms that it concludes are religious in nature.

Citizens for Community Values (CCV) had filed a lawsuit in federal court on March 11, 2008 after the Library refused to allow the group to use a public meeting room to discuss the commingling of the two topics. The library’s director, Ann R. Moore, rescinded the group’s reservation saying the proposed meeting CCV was sponsoring violated library policy because they contained “inherent elements of a religious service.”

David Miller, CCV’s Vice President for Public Policy, is pleased with the ruling. “Based on Supreme Court case law, we’re certainly glad to see Judge Smith uphold the First Amendment.”

Miller said he hopes that it will give guidance to other government institutions who are currently or may consider discriminating against citizens for similar reasons. CCV has additional “Politics and the Pulpit” events planned before this November’s general election.

CCV also has a lawsuit pending against Union Township in Clermont County, Ohio over the same seminar. “Most people would presume that the government would work to see that everyone is treated equally. But when they are the ones who actually engage in the discrimination because of your particular religious viewpoint, it’s a little surprising,” Miller said.

CCV believes that court action was needed in order to secure the future rights and freedoms of other individuals or groups to insure that no one else will be discriminated against for their religious viewpoints. First Amendment attorney, David Langdon, and the Alliance Defense Fund (www.telladf.org), filed the lawsuit on behalf of the organization.

Citizens for Community Values is a 25-year old pro-family public policy organization with offices in Cincinnati and Columbus.