Wisconsin Library Sued for Barring Creationists from Meeting Room

June 21, 1999

Christopher Pfeifer of West Allis, Wisconsin, has sued the city for violating his First- and Fourteenth-Amendment rights by denying him access to a library room where he hoped to hold a meeting on creation science and evolution. The Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative religious group, represented Pfeifer in filing the lawsuit in a Milwaukee federal court June 11.

Pfeifer heads the Genesis Commission, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating the public on evolution and creation science, the Associated Press reported June 16. He maintains that West Allis denied his request because the program content might include religious discussion. Mat Staver, lead attorney for the Liberty Counsel, said, “The bedrock principle underlining the constitution is that government can not discriminate against speech, including religious or political speech, because it disagrees with the content of the message.”

Pfeifer’s group is trying to get an injunction that will allow him to hold the meeting and force the city to pay court costs. Assistant City Attorney Thomas Cullen told reporters he had no comment.