Frankfort, Kentucky — May 10, 2016. Today, the federal district court for the Eastern District of Kentucky entered an agreed order and judgment in favor of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and against Kentucky officials, permanently prohibiting exclusion of the Christian group from participation in a public tourism program based on their religious mission and identity.
AiG will open a theme park in July which will include a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark, and promises to attract millions of dollars in tourism to its home state of Kentucky. This project qualified for participation in the Kentucky tourism tax rebate program, and the Commonwealth eagerly granted initial approval. But Kentucky officials soon gave in to the bullying tactics of atheist groups, withdrew their approval on this basis, and suddenly claimed AiG and the project were “too religious” to have the same benefits as other tourism attractions.
On AiG’s behalf, the Center for Religious Expression (CRE), along with co-counsel Mike Johnson, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and the court subsequently granted AiG a preliminary injunction prohibiting Kentucky officials from discriminatorily excluding them from the program. Seeing the writing on the wall, Kentucky officials have now agreed to a court order resolving the case in AiG’s favor, ensuring this discriminatory violation of AiG’s rights will never happen again.
“We are encouraged the new administration in Kentucky is willing to remedy the wrong and make things right,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “The government cannot target religious persons and organizations for second-class treatment.”