Federal appeals court rules Citilink ‘unconstitutionally’ banned ad

CHICAGO (WANE) Fort Wayne’s public bus system, Citilink, was unconstitutional in refusing to run an ad across one of its buses for a women-in-need health care service, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled Wednesday.

The court sided with Alliance Defending Freedom in its lawsuit against Citilink, initially filed in April 2014 after the transit system denied an ad by Women’s Health Link, a life-affirming health care referral service for women in need. At the time, the city-owned Citilink said the referral service’s website contained information on “controversial issues.”

In response, Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based advocacy group, filed a federal lawsuit that argued the constitutionality of that. Shortly later, a district court upheld Citilink’s ad ban. In February, though, the Alliance’s attorney’s appealed that decision.

In Wednesday’s ruling, the 7th Circuit ruled Women’s Health Link’s ad “complies fully with the conditions set forth in Citilink’s rules.” In its decision, the court wrote the ad “is a public service announcement that does not so much as hint at advocating or endorsing any political, moral, or religious position… Yet the district judge granted summary judgment in favor of Citilink. He shouldn’t have.”

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