Creationist Wins Suit over Library Barring Meeting

April 17, 2000

A Wisconsin creationist has won a lawsuit he filed last summer against the city of West Allis after the city’s public library refused him permission to use one of its meeting rooms.

Christopher A. Pfeifer had sought the use of the room to make a presentation on behalf of the Genesis Commission, his nonprofit Christian education group. He claimed that he was turned away because the program content might include religious discussion. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled April 11 that while the library may seek “to avoid controversy” through “the exclusion of partisan political meetings and religious services or instruction,” such a motive “is not a valid ground for restricting speech in a public forum.”

Pfeifer’s attorney, Erik Stanley of the Orlando, Florida–based Liberty Counsel, said in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the decision “ensured that freedom of speech applies to all citizens.” City Attorney Sheryl Kuhary could not be reached for comment.