Sunday, April 08, 2012

Wyoming Pays $30,000 for Censoring Pro-life Posters

The Wyoming State Building Commission has admitted that their action of removing pro-life signs at the state capital was a first amendment violation, yet in order to silence pro-lifers in the future, the state has eliminated the right of any and all outside groups to exercise free speech activities in Herschler Gallery.

-- From "Wyoming agrees to settle abortion protest lawsuit" by The Associated Press 4/5/12

Under a settlement approved Thursday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal, the state agreed to pay WyWatch Family Action $1 in nominal damages and $30,000 in attorney fees.

Rich Cathcart, head of the Wyoming State Building Commission, has said he ordered two WyWatch poster boards in the tunnel removed last year after receiving complaints. One poster featured a picture of an unborn fetus and the other a group of women saying that they regretted getting abortions.

After WyWatch filed its lawsuit early this year, the State Building Commission, which includes Gov. Matt Mead and the other four statewide elected officials, enacted a new policy banning all public displays of materials in the tunnel area.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Wyoming Officials Admit They Violated Pro-Life Group’s Rights" by Steven Ertelt, 4/6/12

“Although the commissioners have done the right thing by recognizing that they violated the First Amendment rights of WyWatch members who simply wanted to display signs as others had been allowed to do, we disagree that the solution is to then shut everyone up so that you don’t have to allow pro-life speech anymore,” [Alliance Defense Fund Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan] Scruggs explained.

Rich Cathcart, executive secretary of the State Building Commission, approved WyWatch’s request for “walk by” space in Herschler Gallery, a long and wide enclosed tunnel situated between the State Capitol Building and the Herschler State Office Building. On Feb. 3, 2011, WyWatch Family Action Chairman Becky Vandeberghe erected two signs, one depicting a living preborn baby in the womb with a Bible verse. The other sign showed a picture of a group of individuals with the caption “We Regret Our Abortions.” WyWatch placed the signs as part of its advocacy for two pro-life bills before the legislature.

By the next morning, Cathcart, after receiving a number of “inflamed calls,” had deemed the signs unacceptable and removed them because the pro-life content fell outside of the “generic stuff” that he claimed was allowed, even though the application process never specified any such limitation.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "State shuts down everyone to stop Christian message" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 4/6/12

The court consent order specifies that “the parties agree, and the court accepts, that the … defendants unconstitutionally prevented plaintiff from engaging in protected expression in the Herschler Gallery in February 2011 by enforcing an unconstitutionally vague policy against the plaintiff and by enforcing that policy in such a way to discriminate against the viewpoint of plaintiff’s expression.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.