Richard D. Ackerman, of the Pro-Family Law Center
A ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that municipal employers have the right to censor the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “family values” because that is hate speech and could scare workers.
The ruling came in a case being handled by the Pro-Family Law Center, which promised an appeal of the drastic result.
“We are going to take this case right up the steps of the United States Supreme Court,” said Richard D. Ackerman, who along with Scott Lively argued the case for the Pro-Family Law Center.
“We are simply unwilling to accept that Christians can be completely silenced on the issues of the day – especially on issues such as same-sex marriage, parental rights, and free speech rights,” he said.
“If we fail to get U.S. Supreme Court review, however, it will be up to each individual Christian in the United States to stand up for their rights to be heard on the issues of the day. If we choose to be silent, silenced we shall be,” he said.
The decision came in an unpublished “memorandum” from the court, and was in a dispute over the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle within the city offices of Oakland, Calif.
It found that municipalities have a right to dictate what form an employee’s speech may take, even if it is in regard to controversial public issues.
“Public employers are permitted to curtail employee speech as long as their ‘legitimate administrative interests’ outweigh the employee’s interest in freedom of speech,” said the court’s opinion by judges B. Fletcher, Clifton and Ikuta, who noted that their writings are “not appropriate for publication.”
“The district court appropriately described [the Christians’ speech rights] as ‘vanishingly small,'” the opinion continued.
However, as the Pro-Family Law Center noted, the court “completely failed to address the concerns of the appellants with respect to the fact that the City of Oakland’s Gay-Straight Employees Alliance was openly allowed to attack the Bible in widespread city e-mails, to deride Christian values as antiquated, and to refer to Bible-believing Christians as hateful. When the plaintiffs attempted to refute this blatant attack on people of faith, they were threatened with immediate termination by the City of Oakland. The Ninth Circuit did not feel that the threat of immediate termination had any effect on free speech.”
The case had developed when two city employees who wanted to launch a group of people who shared their interests posted a notice on a city bulletin board – after a series of notices from homosexual activists were delivered to them via the city’s e-mail system, bulletin boards and memo distribution system.
The notice said:
Good News Employee Associations is a forum for people of Faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day. With respect for the Natural Family, Marriage and Family values.
If you would like to be a part of preserving integrity in the Workplace call Regina Rederford @xxx- xxxx or Robin Christy @xxx-xxxx
But Robert Bobb, then city manager, and Joyce Hicks, then deputy director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, ordered their notice removed, because it contained “statements of a homophobic nature” and promoted “sexual-orientation-based harassment.”
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled in 2005 that Oakland had a right to prevent the employees from posting that Good News Employee Association flier promoting traditional family values on the office bulletin board.
That decision was made even though homosexuals already had been using the city’s e-mail, bulletin board, and written communications systems for promoting their views. In fact, one city official even used the e-mail system to declare the Bible “needs updating,” but no actions were taken against those individuals.
The case was argued recently at a special session of the 9th Circuit at the Stanford University Law School.
“The city of Oakland has interpreted this district court’s ruling to mean that Christianity has no place in our society and should be subject to punishment. I want to believe that our Supreme Court will ultimately decide this case on the values and instructions set forth in motion by the nations Founders,” said Ackerman.
Ackerman’s’ firm represents the women and said the Pro-Family Law Center and Abiding Truth Ministries have helped underwrite the thousands of dollars it has cost to fight the city’s aggressive promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.
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