Judge rules against atheist group in dispute
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled a Pennsylvania transit agency did not violate an atheist group’s right to free speech by rejecting ads the group sought to run on the agency’s buses.
The ruling states County of Lackawanna Transit System officials had legitimate reasons to reject ads submitted by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society. The Times-Tribune reports the ruling comes after a one-day trial with no jury.
The Scranton-area transit system has maintained it has barred ads promoting or attacking religion and other controversial topics.
A lawsuit by the Freethought Society alleged the transit system allowed several churches to advertise before the atheist group first tried placing an ad in 2012. It said the transit system discriminated against the group by refusing to run ads containing the word “atheist.”
The Freethought Society has declined to comment.