Freedom from Religion Foundation, Satanic Temple sue Franklin County over courthouse lawn access

BROOKVILLE, Ind. -- Two national organizations filed a lawsuit against Franklin County last month – the latest volley in an ongoing dispute over a long-standing holiday Nativity scene.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation filed the suit on March 24 alleging its First Amendment rights were being violated by the county, which declined the organization's request to erect a display promoting the Bill of Rights on the county courthouse lawn.

FFRF was joined in its suit by The Satanic Temple, which says a similar request was denied.

The two organizations are challenging a Franklin County ordinance which provides access to the lawn for putting up displays only to county residents.

The county was sued in December by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana over a Christian Nativity scene that has been erected on the county courthouse lawn for the past 50 years.

MORE | County: ACLU's Nativity scene lawsuit violates rights

The ACLU alleged in that suit that the county was violating the separation of church and state.

Franklin County responded by passing an ordinance declaring its courthouse grounds "the people's lawn," open to all viewpoints.

That lawsuit remained ongoing.

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