Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Suit Challenges County's Refusal To Allow Invocations By Theists or Humanists

The ACLU, Americans United and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit in federal district court yesterday challenging Brevard County, Florida's policy of rejecting or ignoring requests by atheists and Humanists to deliver invocations at meetings of the Brevard County Board of Commissioners during the regular pre-meeting invocation period. Nontheists were allowed to make presentations only during the public comment period of the meeting. The complaint (full text) in Williamson v. Brevard County, (MD FL, filed 7/7/2015), contends that this policy violates the 1st and 14th Amendments as well as provisions of the Florida Constitution. It emphasizes that the County's policy is not the nondiscriminatory access envisioned by the Supreme Court in its Town of Greece decision permitting sectarian invocations. An ACLU press release announced the filing of the lawsuit, and  Florida Today reports on it.