A lawsuit has been filed in Wisconsin after a city's sweeping anti-discrimination ordinance caught the attention of areas churches and a Christian radio station.
Pacific Justice Institute is suing the city of De Pere, a suburb of 24,000 near Green Bay, on behalf of the plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed March 22.
PJI President Brad Dacus says the language of the ordinance, which went into effect March 1, is worrisome and broad, covering hiring and firing practices, and public accommodation at churches, and even the First Amendment right to free expression at the radio station.
"In the city's effort to prohibit discrimination," says Dacus, "they are in actuality engaging in an horrendous discriminatory action against institutions of faith."
Reporting on the lawsuit, Wisconsin Public Radio went to the director of the "Pride Center" at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Stacie Christian told WPR the ordinance is intended to protect transgender people who are "allowed to get service."
That same story listed the plaintiffs: Hope Lutheran, Crosspoint Church, Destiny Church, St. Mark's Lutheran Church, and Christ the Rock Church. The radio station is listed as Q90 FM owned by Lakeshore Communications.
The city's action threatens to "trounce upon" the First Amendment rights of its own people for living out their faith, Dacus tells OneNewNow.
Dacus says the city is preparing for a legal battle over the ordinance, after it refused to include exemptions at PJI's request, while PJI is asking a federal court to impose an injunction.
PJI is cooperating with local counsel, attorney Heidi Miller of Wauwatosa, to represent the plaintiffs.