Friday, April 23, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC, April 22, 2004 ( - The American Center
for Law and Justice filed a suit Tuesday against the Secretary of the
Interior and the National Park Service after the government revoked a
permit issued to pro-life organizations to display pro-life signs in
Washington, D.C. this upcoming weekend - to counter the pro-abortion
message expected to be delivered at the upcoming March for Freedom of

"The National Park Service maintains the sidewalks along the National Mall
but it does not own them, and it cannot, barring exceptional
circumstances, deny to citizens the right to use them for the purpose of
expressing their views on important issues of the day," said James M.
Henderson, Sr., ACLJ Senior Counsel.

The ACLJ filed the suit on behalf of Reverend Patrick Mahoney and his
pro-life organization the Christian Defense Coalition along with Brandi
Swindell who heads up Generation Life - an Idaho-based organization of
young Christian, pro-life activists.

The dispute resulted when the National Park Service announced that it was
revoking a permit for a demonstration, obtained by Mahoney, because his
pro-life message would conflict with the anticipated large scale,
so-called "March for Women's Lives" on April 25. Until the permit was
revoked, Mahoney had planned for up to 24 people to assemble and display
pro-life signs on sidewalks adjacent to the National Mall, where
pro-abortion groups are scheduled to meet this Sunday. Last Friday, the
National Park Service notified Mahoney and Swindell and told them their
permit had been revoked.

"It is very troubling that the Park Service has crushed and trampled the
First Amendment by denying our right to peacefully demonstrate on public
sidewalks," Mahoney said. "It is our hope that the courts will stand
against this kind of censorship and affirm our right to peacefully
articulate our views in the public square."

Campaign Life Coalition National President Jim Hughes, who is in
Washington this week, said that all the network television stations there
are "beating the drum" for the March this Sunday. "It's appalling," Hughes
said. "It's like paid advertising."


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