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The Daytona Beach News-Journal: “The Volusia County Council will vote at Thursday’s meeting on [a change spurred on] by a recent federal lawsuit filed by a politically active Christian group that was turned away from holding a seminar at New Smyrna Beach Regional Library. . . . Verdugo sued in February. His lawyers, with the Alliance Defense Fund, called Volusia’s policy unconstitutional and sought $100 in damages and for the county to pay their fees. Alliance filed a nearly identical lawsuit on Verdugo’s behalf against Osceola County in November. That suit was dropped after Osceola changed its policy.” | ADF News Release of February 5, 2010
OneNewsNow: “A Florida library slammed the door on a Christian organization and now faces a federal court suit . . . ‘The time has passed — pastors and churches should not live in fear of being punished by the government simply because of their religious speech and their religious message,’ [Joel Oster] emphasizes. ‘Our country is best served when churches are allowed to be the church in our communities — and their speech should not be silenced simply because they are the church.’”
American Libraries: “A Florida man has filed a religious-discrimination lawsuit against Volusia County and Library Director Lucinda Colee . . . ‘Public libraries should not be posting what amounts to ‘No Religious People Allowed Here’ signs on their public meeting-room doors,’ said Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian-rights advocacy group that is representing Verdugo. ‘Having a policy explicitly designed to exclude religious groups from speaking in public meeting rooms is blatantly unconstitutional.’”
News-Journal: “The Christian Family Coalition claims the politically active group’s religious rights were violated after a request to hold a seminar at the New Smyrna Beach Regional Library was denied. … Joel Oster, a senior attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said Christian groups should not be denied access to public meeting rooms because of their beliefs. ‘Having a policy explicitly designated to exclude religious groups from meeting in public facilities is blatantly unconstitutional,’ Oster said in a prepared statement.”
CitizenLink: “Anthony Verdugo applied for a permit for a presentation on the relevance between Christians and the culture. He was denied, because of his Christian group’s message. Verdugo is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund. The religious freedom group has won at least three prior cases involving library meeting rooms.”
Religion Clause: “A federal civil rights action was filed on Thursday challenging the refusal by the New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Public Library to allow its meeting rooms to be used for a seminar titled ‘Is Religion Alive in America?’ . . . Alliance Defense Fund issued a release announcing the filing of the lawsuit and discussing other similar challenges filed in recent months.”
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday against the New Smyrna Beach Public Library on behalf of a man who was prohibited from reserving a public meeting room for a “Religion in America” seminar.