Pro-Life Group Denied Equal Access to Public Facilities

Citizens for Life in Rapid City has filed a lawsuit against the Rapid City Area School District because the school district twice denied the group equal access to use school facilities after hours. (thanks, Sibby, for the heads-up; I was expecting a release from Citizens for Life or ADF that I so far haven’t received).

Citizens for Life is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal group which defends religious liberties. Stephen Wesolick, a Rapid City allied-attorney with ADF, is handling the case.

School officials told Citizens for Life President Al Carlson the group’s pro-life message was “too controversial.”

The lawsuit stems from the group’s attempt in 2006 to use the facilities of Dakota Middle School for a talk given by abortion-survivor Gianna Jessen. After waiting two months for their application to be reviewed, they were denied.

In June 2007, Citizens for Life again requested to use the school facilities for pro-life speaker Joe Scheidler, National Director of the Pro-Life Action League, and were again denied.

According to the release posted on the Alliance Defense Fund website,

On three occasions, ADF attorneys requested copies of public records, including records showing which community groups the school district has allowed to use its facilities. School officials denied that they keep such records and have yet to fully respond to the request.

“School officials are not permitted to engage in viewpoint discrimination, nor can they continue to stonewall this group,” said ADF-allied attorney Stephen Wesolick, who is also representing Citizens for Life.

The complaint filed in the U.S District Court for the District of South Dakota, Western Division, in the case of Citizens for Life v. Rapid City Area School District can be read here.

I hope to talk to Wesolick and Carlson soon and provide further details

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