ADF Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Pro-life Group against New Jersey

( [email protected] ) May 07, 2004 06:06 AM EDT

NEWARK, NJ – A Christian law firm filed lawsuit against New Jersey state officials, Tuesday, on behalf of pro-life group that promotes adoption, after being repeatedly denied access to the state’s specialty license plate program.

According to ADF, state officials have violated the rights of Children First Foundation under the First Amendment and caused it to suffer a loss of $200,000 in annual membership fees, as the state has been discriminatory toward the pro-life foundation, since other non-profit organizations such as The Center for Food Action, Knights of Columbus, the National Police Defense Foundation, Square Dancers, and more are eligible for license plates by the New Jersey plate program.

“New Jersey’s plate program is open to all eligible non-profit organizations, with one bigoted exception: those with a pro-life message,” said Michael Johnson, counsel with ADF. “Others may exercise their freedom of speech on license plates, but not Children First Foundation. This is unconstitutional and amounts to viewpoint discrimination by the State.”

Children First Foundation is devoted to help women to choose adoption as a positive choice in case of unwanted pregnancies by providing pro-adoption funding.

According to the lawsuit, the plate program allows unbridled discretion – arbitrary authority by state bureaucrats to choose which organizations may participate in the license program and which ones may not rather than by clear and objective standards.

“As long as decisions are made by whim, Children First Foundation will continue to suffer irreparable harm, discrimination, and financial damage,” Johnson said. “New Jersey crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes would have been the primary beneficiaries of the substantial funds raised by the sale of license plates. Many New Jersey women and infant children are now prevented from obtaining free vital services because of the state’s discrimination against Children First Foundation.”

In the case The Children First Foundation, Inc., v. Diane Legreide et al, The foundation, is represented by Benjamin W. Bull, chief counsel of ADF, with three other attorneys and Legreide is the former Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Many other state officials are standing as the defendants.