Focus on the Family will now be able to advertise its Love Won Out conferences on bus shelters in Pinellas County in Florida, as part of a settlement reached Tuesday.
The nationally recognized pro-family group sued Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in Tampa after it denied Focus on the Family advertisements for a 2000 “Love Won Out” conference which teaches homosexuality is preventable. The Tampa Bay Division of Clear Channel Outdoor, a private sign contractor for the public bus system was not named in the suit.
Focus on the Family argued that the government violated its First Amendment rights by rejecting the advertisements based on the messages they send.
In the settlement, PSTA and sign contractor Clear Channel Outdoor amended their Advertisement Transit Shelter Agreement to allow Focus on the Family to advertise the conferences in the future. The agreement comes more than year after a federal appeals court revived the lawsuit after a judge in Tampa had thrown it out.
Liberty Counsel litigated the case which was funded by Alliance Defense Fund, the nation’s largest legal alliance defending religious liberty.
Mathew Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel stated, "We are pleased that all parties were able to reach an amicable settlement. As a result of the settlement, the language in the Advertising Transit Shelter Agreement, which governs advertising on bus transit shelters, has been amended and Focus on the Family will be permitted to advertise its pro-family conference."
While over 27,000 people have attended 30 such conferences in cities around the country, Vice President of Policy for Focus on the Family Tom Minnery told the Associated Press, Pinellas County was the only place the advertisements were banned.
According to Minnery, Focus on the Family is expected to host another “Love Won Out” conference in Tampa next year “to educate the public about overcoming homosexuality in youth."