UPDATE, 2/16/23: The National Archives has offered to give personal tours to students who sued, saying they were discriminated against for wearing pro-life shirts after the March for Life.
Court papers were filed by both sides of the lawsuit in which the students will receive a personal tour. Additionally, staff will be retrained, and another official apology will be issued. “NARA shall further reiterate to all NARA security officers, as well as all other NARA personnel who interact with the public … that NARA policy expressly allows all visitors to wear t-shirts, hats, buttons, and other similar items, that display protest language, including religious and political speech,” the agreement reads, according to CNN.
A judge still has to approve the agreement.
Following the filing of a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the federal agency has apologized for ordering pro-life visitors to remove or cover up their pro-life apparel. The lawsuit accuses NARA of violating the pro-lifers’ First Amendment rights.
“Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) stating that on the morning of January 20, 2023, the day of the March for Life, several visitors to our museum in Washington, D.C., were told by NARA security officers ‘to remove or cover their attire because of their pro-life messages,’” NARA said in an email to The Washington Times. “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.”
NARA policy actually states that it “expressly allows all visitors to wear T-shirts, hats, buttons, etc., that display protest language, including religious and political speech.”
The agency said it is investigating the situation and that its security personnel corrected their actions quickly and the pro-lifers were allowed to enter the building without removing or covering their pro-life apparel.
The lawsuit was filed against NARA by the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) on behalf of the four pro-lifers. “[T]hree separate and unrelated groups of individuals were stopped by security at the National Archives, including a pro-life grandmother and her granddaughter. They were told to either take off or cover up pro-life attire, or they would be removed from the building. These individuals simply had shirts, buttons, sweatshirts, and hats expressing their support for the unborn or being part of the pro-life generation,” the ACLJ said in a statement.
This is the second lawsuit filed in recent weeks by the ACLJ on behalf of pro-lifers. It also filed a suit against the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for allegedly verbally abusing and kicking out pro-life students and parents who refused to remove their pro-life hats.
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