Creationist wins suit library


JS Online in Milwaukee, has This Story on legal troubles brought on trying to exclude from the library religious services or instructional meetings.

\"The City of West Allis, WI violated a man\'s First Amendment rights when it refused him permission to use the public library\'s Constitution Room for a presentation about creationism, a federal judge ruled in a decision made public Tuesday.

\"The Library\'s Constitution Room is a designated public forum, and no compelling state interest has been advanced to support the exclusion of plaintiff from using it,\" U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in his decision.

Christopher A. Pfeifer sued the city last year after the library refused a request from the Genesis Commission, his non-profit Christian instruction organization, to hold a \"creation science workshop\" in the room.

The library\'s intent, as manifested in its governing policies, was to encourage a broad range of expressive activity by non-profit groups in the Constitution Room,\" Adelman said. \"Its goal was to serve the community and to provide information to community members on a wide array of subjects.\"

The library \"opened its doors wide enough\" to groups expressing different viewpoints that it became a public forum, a designation that gives free speech rights additional weight when balanced against the interest in the efficient operation of government, Adelman said.

\"It may be that the exclusion of partisan political meetings and religious services or instruction is based on the library\'s desire to avoid controversy,\" Adelman said. \"However, the avoidance of controversy is not a valid ground for restricting speech in a public forum.\"

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