The National Archives responded to a lawsuit filed this week by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) on behalf of museum visitors told to leave for wearing pro-life apparel.
Four individuals, part of three separate groups visiting the National Archives while in Washington D.C. for the March for Life on Jan. 20, were told by employees to remove their apparel with pro-life messaging, according to the ACLJ. On Friday, following the ACLJ’s filing of a lawsuit, the National Archives said it “sincerely” apologizes for the occurrence, which it is now “actively investigating.”
“As the home to the original Constitution and Bill of Rights, which enshrine the rights of free speech and religion, we sincerely apologize for this occurrence,” the statement reads. “NARA policy expressly allows all visitors to wear t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc. that display protest language, including religious and political speech.” (RELATED: Smithsonian Slapped With Lawsuit After Kicking Out Students Wearing Pro-Life Hats)
BREAKING: We JUST filed a lawsuit against the National Archives.
A second federal institution has now been CAUGHT targeting pro-lifers – this time the National Archives Museum.
— ACLJ (@ACLJ) February 9, 2023
“Early indications are that our security officers quickly corrected their actions and, from that point forward, all visitors were permitted to enter our facility without needing to remove or cover their attire,” the National Archives continued. “We have reminded all of our security officers at our facilities across the country of the rights of visitors in this regard.”
ACLJ pointed out the irony of the event taking place at the National Archives in its announcement of the lawsuit.
“What is so egregious about this particular targeting is that it was done by the very federal institution that is home to our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – the exact documents that call on our government to protect the freedoms of speech and religion, not trample on them,” the ACLJ wrote.
This is the second case the ACLJ filed this week on behalf of pro-life individuals against a federally funded national museum, with the first being the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Nine students and three parents in Washington D.C. for the March for Life visited the museum, where they were reportedly berated by employees and told their hats with the words “Rosary Pro-Life” were “political statements” not allowed inside the building.
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