This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
The National Archives has agreed not to target pro-life Americans who visit the public institution.
The statement is part of consent order and preliminary injunction in a lawsuit that charges the Archives deliberately discriminated against visitors of faith.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed the case against the Archives, a consent order in the case states, “Defendants, their officers, successors in office, employees, and agents are PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from prohibiting visitors from wearing t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc., that display . . . religious and political speech.”
The ACLJ said the statement was part of its efforts to assure that those people who earlier faced discrimination at the Archives could return and not be given the same treatment.
The lawsuit is over the institution’s decision to target visitors over their pro-life statements on the day of the March for Life.
“While our clients were required to remove their pro-life clothing, other visitors to the museum wearing pro-choice apparel freely toured the Archives and were not harassed by museum security and staff,” the ACLJ said. “As we explain in our complaint, ‘Defendants’ restriction on Plaintiffs’ speech is . . . a concerted effort to single out, embarrass, intimidate, exclude, and ultimately silence the message expressed by Plaintiffs in wearing their ‘pro-life’ clothing and other attire’ and is a clear ‘violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.'”
The ACLJ said the consent order isn’t the end of the case, and in the weeks ahead the organization will demand answers “on how and why such a clear violation of our client’s rights occurred and who all was involved in the decision to target pro-life visitors.”
WND recently reported on the case against the Archives, which followed an earlier, and similar, set of claims made against the Smithsonian for its decision to ban a class of students who were in town for the annual March for Life, and wore pro-life stocking caps to be able to identify each other in a crowd.
The ACLJ said, “It’s outrageous, but sadly, it’s not shocking. The National Archives Museum – another federally funded national museum in Washington, D.C. – targeted and censored its religious, pro-life visitors on January 20, 2023, – the day of the 50th annual National March for Life. What is so egregious about this particular targeting is that it was done by the very federal institution that is home to our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – the exact documents that call on our government to protect the freedoms of speech and religion, not trample on them.”
Archives employees are accused of telling visitors their Christian statements on clothing would “incite” others.
The complaint was filed in federal court in Washington and alleges free speech violations of the First Amendment, equal protection violations of the Fifth Amendment, and more.
As reported, the ACLJ earlier sued the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for similar offenses.
There, officials demanded students wearing pro-life stocking caps be removed.
The students were in Washington D.C. on Jan 20. March for Life and visited the museum after the march, where they were reportedly berated by employees and told they must remove their hats with the words “Rosary Pro-Life” or leave.
One staff member told the students their hats were “political statements” that did not promote equality, claiming the museum is “a neutral zone” where the First Amendment “does not apply”— despite other visitors similarly wearing expressive statements on their attire, such as pride masks, according to the case filing.